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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/396

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526.—LOBSTER IN ASPIC. (Fr.Homard en Aspic.)

Ingredients.—1 large or 2 small lobsters, 1 pint of aspic jelly, 3 hard-boiled eggs, a large lettuce, a few tarragon leaves, capers, olives stoned, and truffles; oil and vinegar, pepper and salt, Mayonnaise sauce (see Sauces).

Method.—Put into a quart border mould enough melted aspic jelly to thinly cover it, and when it begins to set, arrange in it the flesh of the body and claws of the lobster (which should be cut into neat pieces) with a few tarragon leaves and capers, filling up the mould with the jelly. Well wash, dry, and shred the lettuce, and mix with it the remainder of the lobster, the oil and vinegar, with pepper and salt. When the mould is firmly set, turn it out and pile the salad in the centre, and around it as a border, masking it smoothly with a thick Mayonnaise sauce. Lastly, garnish the whole with the eggs cut up, the coral and the little claws of the lobster, the capers and truffles, etc.

Time.—About 2 hours. Average Cost, 3s. 6d., exclusive of sauce. Sufficient for 6 persons. Seasonable at any time.

The Lobster (Fr. homard) is found on most of the rocky coasts of Great Britain, many European shores, and on the coasts of North America. It is especially partial to clear water, and inhabits the crevices of the rocks at the bottom of the shore. The lobster belongs to the order Decapoda, to the section Macroura, or "long tailed," and is one of the "stalk-eyed" crustaceans. The body of the lobster is composed of twenty segments or joints, of which six belong to the head, eight to the thorax or chest, and six to the abdomen. Its tail is composed of several flat shell-like plates which, when spread out in the form of a fan, is used as an organ for swimming. The first pair of ambulatory limbs form the characteristic powerful claws, the pincers of which are furnished with knobs, and the lower part is serrated. By means of the former it is enabled to hold firmly the stalks of sub-marine plants, and with the latter it minces its food with great dexterity. The lobster is very prolific, and when in spawn the female is said to be "in berry," the developing eggs being attached to the tail. Unlike the crab, the young lobster does not undergo any metamorphosis in passing from the egg to the adult state. Like others of its tribe, the lobster casts its shell each year. It is usually caught by pots specially constructed, made of osiers, shaped somewhat like a wire mouse-trap, and baited with garbage. When the lobster enters the trap it cannot get out again. The traps are fastened to a cord and sunk in the sea, the place being marked by a buoy. In colour the lobster is of a deep bluish-black, mottled with markings of a lighter hue; on being boiled it changes to its familiar scarlet colour. Large quantities of lobsters are caught on the coasts of North America, and are exported in large quantities to this country. By the Fishery Act of 1877, no lobsters under 8 inches in length may be captured, and by some local bye-laws of the Sea Fisheries' Committee a close season is fixed.

527.—LOBSTER, BAKED. (Fr.Homard au Gratin.)

Ingredients.—1 lobster, 1½ ozs. of butter, 2 or 3 tablespoonfuls of white sauce, 1 egg, the juice of ½ a lemon, 1 dessertspoonful of finely-chopped parsley, ½ a teaspoonful of finely-chopped shallots, brown breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Method.—Cut the lobster in two lengthwise, remove the meat from the shells, and mince it coarsely. Melt the butter in a stewpan, fry the shallots for 2 or 3 minutes without browning, then add the lobster, white sauce, parsley, lemon-juice, a pinch of nutmeg, as well as salt and pepper to taste; then stir over the fire until thoroughly hot. Beat the egg slightly, add it to the mixture, and cook until it begins to bind. Have ready the two halves of the large shell, put in the mixture, cover lightly with brown breadcrumbs, put 3 or 4 very small