The focal point of a French meal is its main course. Owing to the diversity in the numerous regions and cultural influences, these dishes may be complex or simple, with a variety of meat, poultry and vegetable ingredients.
Langoustine gratin may be used as a delicious alternative for vegetable gratins, and the langoustines are easily available in large, fine food markets. Lobster meat can also add flavor and delicacy to this dish. The heavy gratin with chopped and crisp salad can be a satisfying, nutritious and delicious meal.
Also known as Norway lobsters or scampi, langoustines look similar to miniature lobsters, and this creamy gratin is elevated into a dish. The extraordinary subtle flavor and texture of this dish makes it so special.
Basically the dish is easy to prepare, and customized as per the need or availability of ingredients. But the main concern is the number of dishes used in the preparation. Moreover, the dishes to be used need to be carefully chosen so that they can withstand high temperatures.
It takes approximately two hours to prepare the dish which includes preparation time.
3 pounds langoustines, shelled after weighing
6 tablespoons butter, plus butter for dish
1 finely chopped medium carrot
1 finely chopped small onion
3 finely chopped shallots
1 finely chopped stalk celery
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small bay leaf
1/4 cup cognac
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 pounds mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 cup crÃ¨me fraiche
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
A large broiler-proof, oven proof gratin dish is buttered and set aside. Meanwhile the lobsters or shrimps, that are to be used are shelled and the tails twisted off. The tail meats are reserved for later use, while the shells and heads are pulsated till chopped coarsely, in a food processor.
The pulverized shells are transferred to a large pan and set over medium heat. Two tablespoons of butter are added to the pan and melted. The chopped onions, carrots, one-third of the shallots and celery are then added to the pan. The sea-food and vegetables are stirred frequently and cooked for about five minutes. Half the cognac is poured and flambÃ© it carefully in the pan. After allowing the flames to disappear, the white wine is poured into the pan. The mixture is set to gentle simmer, and the heat is reduced to low. Covering the pan, the mixture is then allowed to cook for ten minutes. The liquid is then strained and poured into a clean saucepan, while the solids are discarded.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a fresh and clean saucepan. The remaining shallots are poured into it, and cooked till soft, while stirring constantly. Add seasoned salt, ground black pepper, and the langoustine tail meat to it. The mixture is cooked till the meat is cooked, with regular stirring. The remainder cognac is added to the pan and carefully flambÃ© it. The cooking liquid is strained into the reserved cooking liquid from shells. The langoustine meat and shallots are kept aside.
In a hot saucepan two tablespoons of butter is melted. The mushrooms are sautÃ© and seasoned with ground black pepper and salt. Now the mushrooms are layered onto the butter gratin dish`s bottom. The shallots and cooked langoustine tails are spread over the mushrooms. The dish is kept aside for some time.
The crÃ¨me fraiche is whisked into the reserve cooking liquid. The mixture is brought to simmer, and cooked till reduced by one-third. Now it is allowed to cool in room temperature, after transferring it into a large bowl.
A saucepan of water is brought to rolling boil. Yolks from three eggs, mixed with one-fourth cup of water, in a heat proof bowl is set on this water. It is cooked for sometime till it becomes thick and not hard. Stir the mixture into the cream sauce now. The sauce is then poured over langoustines and mushrooms. The gratin dish is then set under the boiler, till the top of the gratin turns light, golden brown.
The recipe uses a broiler, hence the utensils used should be carefully chosen, so that they are able to withstand the high temperatures, and sudden changes in temperature as well.
Serve hot. Bon appÃ©tit.