This magnificent Lobster Cascade centerpiece rising from a platter of Oysters à la Russe Impérial is lifted directly from TV’s classiest soap opera, Downton Abbey. Poor Lady Edith, jilted bride, humiliated and bed-bound with despair, bleakly regards a spinster’s future. Whilst recognition of her reduced status tearfully dawns, staff scurry to erase all traces of the annihilated wedding festivities.
But wait — as the camera glides over platters of spurned “pickety bits” a forlorn crustacean construction catches the eye. Rewind the DVR, pause, et voilà. The centerpiece provides an illustration of all the pleasures that lay beyond Lady Edith’s reach.
‘Round it servants gather to dine on the discarded delicacies. The cook, Mrs. Patmore proudly boasts of her opulent menu: truffled eggs on toast, oysters a la russe, lobster rissols mousseline, Calvados glazed duckling and asparagus salad with champagne saffron vinaigrette.
In this loving-hands-at-home recreation, the steely eyes of the lobster are met with a plateau of Oysters à al Russe Impérial. The classic preparation of cold oysters with a hearty coulis of tomatoes, horseradish, hot sauce and vodka, is upgraded with a dollop of caviar.
4 1 1/2 lb, lobsters
large centerpiece support
Additional garnish element such as greens, lemons, jumbo shrimp and artichokes.
Determine the support structure for you cascade. This 20″ glass candlestick was found at the old Pottery Barn outlet on 9th Avenue and sits nicely on a footed cake stand. A sturdy topiary, souvenir Eiffel Tower or parts of an Erector Set might all work. Imagination and resourcefulness are important; the three essential keys to success are ample height, sturdiness and attractiveness.
Kill the lobsters by plunging a large knife where the head meets the body, cutting lengthwise so that the cut and the joint in the shell form an X. Insert a metal skewer into the tail at the base and run it up the length of the body. This will keep the tail from curling up when you cook it.
Fill a large pot with 2″ of water and bring to the boil. Lower the skewered lobsters in to the water and cook for 10 minutes. Take the pot of the heat, let cool. When lobsters are cool enough to handle remove them and wipe off the blobs of white stuff that will have leaked out.
Insert a toothpick through the lobster tails in the very last segment before the tail. Use florists wire to create a loop by winding around the two sides of the protruding toothpicks. This hides the unsightly wire.
After the party, take the meat from the shells. Make a rich stock from the carcasses which is wonderful for a rich Lobster Bisque.
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