This recipe is purposely complex to show the various possibilities, but many of the ingredients are optional, including the mushrooms.
– ½ cup dry white wine.
– 1 shallot, minced.
– 8 littleneck clams, rinsed.
– 1 pound small cultivated mussels, rinsed.
– ½ pound New Zealand cockles, rinsed (optional).
– 1 teaspoon wine vinegar.
– Two 1¼-pound live lobsters, at least 1 female.
– 2 dozen live crayfish (optional).
– 4 tomatoes, chopped.
– ½ cup heavy cream.
– 1 ounce dried morels, soaked in ½ cup hot water for about 30 minutes (optional).
– 1 tablespoon sea urchin roe (optional).
– 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or chervil.
– 4 sprigs chervil or fennel fronds (optional).
Step 1:In a pot large enough to hold the lobsters, combine the wine and shallot, bring to a gentle simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the clams, cover the pot, and steam over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the mussels, recover, and steam for 2 minutes. Add the cockles, re-cover, and steam for about 5 minutes, or until all the shellfish open. If a few refuse to open, open them with a knife. If any of the mussels don’t open, throw them out. Using a spider or skimmer, transfer the shellfish to a large bowl. Leave the shellfish juices in the pot.
Step 2:Have a small bowl ready containing the vinegar, with a fine-mesh strainer resting over the bowl. Cut up the lobsters. Pull the tomalley and roe out of the heads and tails and work them through the strainer into the bowl (the vinegar prevents congealing). Cover the bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Step 3:Put the lobster pieces in the pot, cover, and steam over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until bright orange all over.
Step 4:Meanwhile, take the meats out of the mussels, clams, and cockles, reserving 12 mussels in the shell, 4 clams in the shell, and half of the cockles in the shell. Cover the meats tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Step 5:When the lobster pieces are ready, take them out of the pot with a spider, and put the crayfish in the shellfish juices in the pot. Cover, raise the heat to high, and steam for 4 minutes, or until bright orange. Again using the spider, take the crayfish out of the pot and let cool. Reserve the liquid in the pot.
Step 6:Take the meat out of the crayfish tails, reserving the shells, and then snap the claws off the bodies and crush with the end of a rolling pin or discard. (The claw shells are hard and can damage a food processor.) Take the lobster meat out of the shells and discard the claw shells. Grind the lobster and crayfish shells in a food processor for 1 minute, or until the mixture has a coarse, mealy consistency.
Step 7:Add the ground shells, crushed claws (if using), tomatoes, and cream to the shellfish cooking liquid in the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Lift the morels out of their soaking liquid, squeezing them over the bowl. Set the morels aside. Carefully pour the liquid into the tomato mixture, leaving any grit behind in the bowl. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, and strain through a coarse-mesh strainer, and then through a fine-mesh strainer into a small saucepan.
Step 8:Work the sea urchin roe through the fine-mesh strainer into the lobster roe. Cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise or into medallions so everyone gets the same amount. Arrange the portions of lobster, crayfish, and mollusks (including those still in the shell) on a sheet pan and cover withplastic wrap. Put into the oven set to the lowest setting and heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t keep the shellfish in the oven any longer than necessary.
Step 9:Just before serving, bring the sauce to a simmer, whisk in the parsley, and add the morels. Whisk the sauce into the lobster roe. Return the mixture to the saucepan, season with salt and pepper, and whisk over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce turns bright orange. Don’t let it boil.
Step 10:Arrange the warmed shellfish in warmed soup plates, and spoon the sauce and morels over the shellfish. Decorate each serving with a chervil sprig.