Recipe: Lobster custard with caviar

Note: Our October cover story on the Japanese tv cooking show "Iron Chef" drew a huge response from fans of the show happy to see attention paid to what many called their favorite TV program of any kind anywhere. We were also able to publish some of the recipes from San Francisco chef Ron Siegel, who this year was the first American to win an "Iron Chef" competition. Of all Siegel's "Battle Lobster" recipes, it was his Lobster Custard that got the attention of tasters in The Times Test Kitchen. Siegel tops the custard with caviar, but the custard is so good you can skip the fish eggs if you like. The custard is cooked in egg shells, and an egg carton is the perfect thing to hold them upright in the water as they poach. It must be a cardboard, rather than a plastic, carton.

Active Work Time: 25 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

1 cup milk

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup Lobster Stock

Salt, pepper

1 dozen eggs

2 pounds rock salt, optional

1 pound mixed spices (fresh bay leaves and peppercorns), optional

1 ounce Beluga or other caviar

* Bring milk and cream to boil with Lobster Stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

* Take 3 eggs and cut off tops of small ends with kitchen shears or sharp knock of large knife. Put yolks and whites in bowl. Set empty shell cups aside.

* Stir small amount of hot cream mixture into eggs in bowl to temper them. Then stir eggs into remaining cream mixture. Strain through fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

* Cut tops off remaining 9 eggs as above. Reserve shell cups; yolks and whites may be reserved for another use. Clean egg shells and carefully remove interior membrane with your finger. Once membrane is removed, shells will be very brittle.

* Rinse shells in warm water. Place shells back in egg carton, then place carton in large baking pan. Fill pan with water just until level reaches 1/4 way up side of eggs. Fill shells with custard. Cover and bake at 275 degrees until custard sets but is still soft, 40 minutes.

* Remove from oven and place custard-filled eggs on bed of rock salt decorated with spices. Top with caviar and serve.

12 servings. Each serving: 161 calories; 173 mg sodium; 255 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0 fiber.


Active Work Time: 5 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 2 hours

Shells from 2 lobsters

5 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 sprig parsley

1 clove garlic

1/2 onion

5 cups water

* Put lobster shells, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley, garlic, onion and water in saucepan and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until liquid is reduced to 2 cups, about 2 hours.

* Strain liquid into clean pot and simmer until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour.

1 cup. Each 1/4 cup: 21 calories; 43 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol; 0 fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.13 gram fiber.