Tomato Gazpacho with Lobster
- 3 live lobsters (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
- 3 cups canned tomatoes in juice, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 1 large red bell pepper, cored and coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/3 small cooked red beet (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- Pinch of Piment d’Espelette*
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely diced apple
- 1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
- 18 baby red or yellow pear tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives 12 small thin toasts (optional)
To cook the lobsters, fill a stockpot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil.
Slip the lobsters into the water, cover, and cook until the shells are bright red, about 8 minutes. Using tongs, remove the lobsters. Set aside to cool.
When cool, lay the lobsters on their backs and cut each one in half lengthwise, starting at the head.
Remove and discard the intestinal vein along the back of the tail.
Snap off the claws, crack them with a mallet and carefully pull the meat out of the shell, intact if possible. Using the same method, remove the tail meat, set it aside with the claw meat and discard the shells.
Place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, water, and cooked red beet in a blender; puree until smooth, about 1 minute.
Strain the puree into a bowl using a chinois or fine mesh sieve. Immediately pour the puree back into the blender, add the sherry vinegar, salt, pepper, Piment d’Espelette, and extra-virgin olive oil. Blend on high speed until smooth and well combined.
Pour 3/4 cup of gazpacho in the bottom of a shallow soup bowl. Place one lobster tail half, cut side up in the center of each bowl. Prop a claw up against the tail.
Garnish the bowls equally with the apple, cucumber, tomatoes, chives, and toasts.
*Piment d’Espelette is made solely from native red peppers grown in the tiny village of Espelette, in the Basque Region, where it is often used at the table in lieu of black pepper. Its rich aroma and gently spicy, fragrant character lend a magical depth of flavor to Basque cuisine. It can be purchased at Williams-Sonoma or by e-mailing Chef Hirigoyen at firstname.lastname@example.org.