What does a gardener most want for her birthday? The answer is -- help weeding. So early this morning on a day that promised record high temperatures, I dragged Hunter out into the asparagus bed to finish the weeding and fertilizing and mulching of the asparagus. It took two bags of manure (in which I found a lobster claw) and two bales of straw to get the job done.
Casual inquiries to my friends about when to stop picking asparagus came to a definitive answer in a phone call from Annie last night. “Michel says you pick from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day.” By 9:00 AM as the sun made it through the clouds, we had completed the task and took the first shower of what would surely be a four shower day.
The second most desired gift is of course gardening equipment. I have received my new watering wand which we purchased at Lowe’s when we were off last week. It has made watering the garden a whole lot easier.
When Hunter asked what special dining arrangements I would like for the day, I had my choice picked out. I’ve been eyeing a Lobster Tarragon recipe all spring. Yesterday while he was off island, I picked up three culls with crusher claws at Larsen’s, cooked and chilled them and extracted the meat. Then today we went off in search of the suitable “good white Burgundy” suggested in the recipe. A 2000 Mersault is chilling in the fridge.
Now the tarragon is healthy and abundant. Abundant also is the last of the asparagus crop. The added touch tonight will be the fresh spinach. I have it in a shady spot in the garden and hope it won’t bolt too soon.
For four servings:
One pound lobster meat, slightly undercooked (if orderingfrom a fish market request the lobsters be cooked 3 minutesless than for done; do the same if cooking at home – themeat finishes cooking as the dish is finished)
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried
1 ½ cups drained and chopped tomatoes. In summer choose the most flavorful heirloom tomatoes.
½ cup heavy cream - do not substitute light cream which will curdle in the acid sauce
¾ cup fish, lobster or chicken stock – do not use bottledclam juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chop the lobster into 1 -2 inch pieces, leaving claws intact. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat and meltbutter until it foams. Add shallots and cook, stirring until softened – 2 or 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and tarragon,increasing the heat to high so that the tomatoes boil, losing some of their moisture. Add the stock, cream and wine and continue boiling until the sauce has thickened andreduced. Add salt and several grinds of pepper to taste. If serving immediately, reduce heat until the sauce is just simmering, stir in the lobster and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until the meat is hot. It will continue to cook as you serve it. Serve on warmed plates with your choice of vegetable and starch. The sauce can be made ahead, in which case I suggest the boiling and reduction be done just before adding the meat and serving.