Lobster with Licorice Mascarpone & Pickled Watermelon Rind
Canoe, Toronto, John Horne / May 2013
For 10 servings (requires advance preparation)
- 2 cups plus 2 Tbsps. mascarpone
- 2 Tbsps. wild coastal licorice root, grated (with juices)
- 1/6 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Whisk mascarpone in large nonreactive bowl until loosened; fold in licorice root and vanilla seeds; discard bean; season; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator until licorice has infused mascarpone.
Place mascarpone in piping bag fitted with large round tip; reserve in refrigerator.
Pickled watermelon rind:
- 1 lb. white parts from watermelon rind
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/8 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1/8 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1/8 tsp. salt
Place watermelon rind in a bowl; reserve.
Bring vinegar, sugar, spices, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in large saucepan; remove from heat; pour over watermelon; cool; cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature overnight; reserve.
- 1/2 seedless watermelon, peeled and sliced 1” thick
- 3 to 4 oz. Pernod
- basil leaves
Brush watermelon slices on both sides with Pernod; place a few basil leave on one side of each slice; place in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; compress 60 seconds; reserve.
- 5 whole lobsters, poached in fennel court bouillon
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 2 Tbsps. star anise, fennel, cinnamon, and nutmeg,
- toasted and very finely ground
Remove lobster meat from shells; discard shells; pat meat dry; place on stainless-steel tray; reserve.
Mix sugar, salt, and spices in a bowl; sprinkle spice mixture over lobsters; caramelize with a kitchen torch; cut lobster meat into bite-size pieces; reserve.
- 30 baby watermelon cucumbers, sliced into various sizes
- 2 1/2 bulbs fennel, quartered and shaved
- coriander cress
- seasonal flowers
- 3 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. bergamot oil
- 1 1/4 tsps. fennel pollen
Remove compressed watermelon from bag; cut into thin strips and various sizes and shapes; reserve; remove watermelon rind from pickling juices; cut rinds into small dice; reserve; discard juices.
To serve, pipe some licorice mascarpone into a mound on each serving plate; place compressed watermelon into mascarpone to hold it up; place torched lobster around; sprinkle pickled rind down middle of plate; garnish each plate with 3 cucumbers, 1/4 fennel bulb, cress, and flowers; drizzle each plate with 1 tsp. oil; sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. fennel pollen.
What to drink: Pearl Morissette Cuvée Dix-Neuvieme Chardonnay Twenty Mile Bench 2010 or Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Chassagne-Montrachet 2008