Cornish Buttered Lobster

Ingredients

2 lobsters, each weighing about 700 g (1 1/2 lb), split into halves
lemon juice
75 g (3 oz) butter
60 ml (4 tbsp) fresh breadcrumbs
45 ml (3 tbsp) brandy
45 ml (3 tbsp) fresh double cream
salt and pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
cucumber twists, lemon slices and fresh dill sprigs, to garnish

Method

The long coast of Cornwall is touched by the Gulf Stream, making its warmer waters ideal for lobsters and other shellfish to flourish. A good-quality lobster deserves to be served simply, as in this recipe, so that the full flavour of the flesh can be enjoyed.

1. Discard the stomach, the dark vein that runs through the body, and the spongy gills from each lobster. Remove the tail meat. Crack open the claws and remove the meat. Scrape the meat from the legs with a skewer.

2. Cut the meat into chunks, then sprinkle with lemon juice. Remove and reserve the coral, if present. Remove and reserve the soft pink flesh and liver separately.

3. Scrub the shells and place in a low oven to warm. Melt 25 g (1 oz) of the butter in a small frying pan, add the breadcrumbs and cook until browned and crisp.

4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a medium saucepan, add the lobster flesh and gently stir until heated through.

5. Warm the brandy in a ladle, ignite with a taper and pour, still flaming, over the lobster. When the flames have subsided, transfer the lobster to the warmed shells, using a slotted spoon, and keep warm in a low oven.

6. Pound the liver and pink flesh. Stir into the cooking juices with the cream, a little salt and cayenne pepper and plenty of black pepper. Boil briefly until thickened, then spoon over the lobster.

7. Sprinkle the fried breadcrumbs over the top. Quickly garnish with the reserved coral, if available, cucumber twists, lemon slices and dill sprigs.

Serves 4