1/2 whole lobster
25g butter , for reheating the lobster
2 very fresh eggs
1 tsp white wine vinegar
large knob of butter
100g baby spinach, washed
2 tsp Avruga caviar
350g strong white bread flour
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
3/4 tsp salt
175ml warm milk
1 egg, beaten
fine polenta or semolina, for dusting
50ml white wine
100ml white wine vinegar
1 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 small bunch tarragon
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp double cream
125g butter , melted
cayenne pepper , to taste
1-2 tbsp lemon juice , to taste
First make the muffins. Mix together the flour, yeast and salt in a food mixer with the dough hook, or in a large bowl if making by hand. Add the milk and egg, and mix to a dough. Leave the mixture in the machine with the motor running and knead the mix for 5-6 mins until it becomes elastic and smooth, or for 10-15 mins by hand. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film and place in a warm spot to prove.
When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down with your hand and turn out. Dust your work surface and a baking tray with the polenta or semolina. Roll out the dough until 2.5cm thick and cut out muffins using a 9cm straight-edged cutter – you should have about 4 muffins. Transfer them to the tray, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 20-25 mins or until doubled in size.
Put a piece of baking parchment in a non-stick frying pan and put the pan on a low heat. Gently transfer the muffins to the pan and cook them in batches for 5-6 mins each side until they are toasted and brown. Remove from the pan and leave to cool on a wire rack. When cool, these freeze very well in freezer bags – then simply toast them from frozen. Keep 2 out for your lobster.
To make the hollandaise, put the wine, vinegar, shallot, tarragon and peppercorns in a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8-10 mins or until the mix is reduced to one-third of its original volume. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Meanwhile, fill a pan one-third with water, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Strain the infused vinegar mixture into a mixing bowl, add the egg yolk and a large splash of water. Place the bowl over the top of the pan of simmering water (but not touching the water) and whisk. The sauce will lighten in colour and fluff up – this is called a sabayon. Do not overcook or it will look like scrambled eggs. When it is fluffy but firm, add the splash of double cream, then slowly pour in the melted butter – not too quickly – imagine you are making mayonnaise, drizzling in a small amount at a time. When all the butter has been incorporated, season with salt, cayenne and lemon juice. Pass the hollandaise through a fine sieve into a bowl. Cover with cling film and keep warm until needed.
Prepare the lobster. Twist the claws and pull the tail off the lobster, then bash the claws with a rolling pin to crack the shell and reveal the meat. Remove the shell from the tail, then cut the tail in half lengthways and remove the intestine. You should now have half a tail and a claw per person. Remove the meat from the shell. To reheat the meat, melt the butter with 2 tbsp water in a medium saucepan. Add the lobster meat and warm over a gentle heat.
To poach the eggs, bring a small pan of water to the boil and add a splash of white wine vinegar. Spin the water around with a slotted spoon and crack in the eggs – they must be very fresh. Turn off the heat and leave them to poach for 2-3 mins until set but still soft.
Meanwhile, melt the knob of butter in a pan. Add the spinach and stir until it starts to wilt. Season and grate over a little nutmeg. Remove from the heat and drain the spinach on kitchen paper. To serve, halve 1 muffin and lightly toast to warm through. Put half a muffin on each plate and top with the spinach, then add the portioned warm lobster. Place a poached egg on top, then spoon over the hollandaise and a dollop of caviar.