The quenelles—light and fluffy like a soufflé—are placed in a pool of luscious sauce Américaine, bringing richness from both the cream and lobster.
- Add the olive oil and lobster shells to a medium saucepot set over medium heat. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, and sauté for another 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the white wine and let the mixture reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Add the fish stock and reduce by half, about 15 more minutes. Stir in the cream and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes, until it is a pinkish orange. Strain through a chinois and discard the solids. Let cool before using.
- Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is very fine and slightly sticky. Spoon it into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, fill a stockpot with water deep enough that the quenelles won’t touch the bottom, and bring the water to a boil. Quickly dip two large metal spoons in the boiling water. Use one to take a generous scoop of the fish mousse, and use the second spoon’s concave side to pull the quenelle tightly against the first spoon and then against the second, compacting the quenelle into an egg shape. Repeat this process a few times for each quenelle until it’s tightly formed.
- Carefully place the quenelle into the water, and poach for a few minutes until it’s slightly firm and springy to the touch. Flip the quenelle over and repeat. Remove to a plate and let cool, draining any excess liquid that seeps out. At this point, the quenelles can be refrigerated (or even frozen for up to a month) until ready to use or placed directly in a shallow baking dish.
- To bake, heat the oven to 400°F. Add enough sauce Américaine to come halfway up the side of the quenelles and bake for 20 minutes, or until the quenelles are warm and the sauce is bubbling.
- To finish, broil the quenelles for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the tops begin to lightly brown in a few spots. Transfer the quenelles to a shallow bowl and pour warm sauce over the top.
Michael Harlan Turkell is an award-winning photographer and cookbook author of the recently published, ACID TRIP: Travels in the World of Vinegar. He has photographed many prominent chefs’ cookbooks and hosts The Food Seen podcast on Heritage Radio Network.