Lobster and blood sausage
Chef Karlos Enrique Ponte Maldonado grew up in Venezuela. Together with fellow Venezuelan Luis Moreno and the Dane Jacob Brink Lauridsen, Ponte opened Restaurant Taller in Copenhagen, where he works as chef. These three met while working together at noma. Taller means 'workshop' in Spanish and the word embodies the culinary ambitions of this team.
Before opening Taller, Ponte worked in a restaurant specialising in Asian cuisine in Copenhagen and also hosted a television programme about the Venezuelan kitchen. His ambition is to make his mark on gastronomy with a unique combination of tradition and avant garde that is characterised by working together with small-scale producers to develop a sustainable gastronomy. Ponte defines his style of cooking as having developed from a journey of discovery that was influenced by different mentors, local producers, traditional cooking, the landscape, modern chefs, travelling with his father, the kiss of his mother, and his memory of her scent.
Ponte has this to say about the dish: ‘The village of Rio Caribe in the Sucre state in Venezuela is famous because it’s one of the best spots for catching lobsters and for having the best blood sausages in the country. Both flavours and aromas have stayed in my mental palate as being a part of this place. The different varieties of sweetness that both products have is something that I relate to and have therefore tried to put together in a dish. The Rio Caribe blood sausage I have tried and learned to make contains a lot of onion and ají dulce, which gives it much more balance when you put it together with the delicate sweet lobster meat.’
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Preparation method: onion broth
- Heat up a frying pan (or plancha) until very hot.
- Place the onions in the pan cut side down and char until the surface is completely black.
- Set up a pressure cooker and cook the onions with the water on full pressure for twenty minutes.
- Strain the liquid and set aside.
Preparation method: ají panca paste
- Soak the ají panca in hot water for about fifteen minutes.
- Blend them together into a fine paste.
Preparation method: blood sausage purée
- Blend everything in a Thermomix at 60°C for ten minutes.
- Pass the mixture through a fine sieve.
Preparation method: tomato chip
- Combine the ingredients to form a dough.
- Roll out the dough in between two plastic films and steam for fifteen minutes.
- Allow the cooked dough to cool and then transfer into a dehydrator for twelve hours at 60°C.
- Store the chips in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
- Fry the chips in 190°C oil for two to three seconds until they puff up. Season with the tomato powder.
Preparation method: tomato powder
- Combine the ingredients and blend them in a spice grinder.
- Pass the powder through a fine mesh.
Preparation method: lobster
- Place the point of a knife at the end of the head of the lobster. With a quick movement slice the knife all the way through the middle of the head and cut the head in two. This way the lobster dies instantaneously, allowing you to work with the raw meat and avoid causing the animal unnecessary suffering.
- Take apart the tail and claws (reserve the claws for other preparations).
- Blanch the tail for twenty seconds in a pot with salted boiling water.
- Cool it down in ice-cold water.
- Use lobster scissors to carefully open the bottom shell of the tail and remove the raw meat from the shell.
- Cut the tail in half lengthwise and remove the digestive tract.
- Pierce the tail with a wooden skewer from the top to the end of each half to avoid the tail shrinking when it cooks.
- Vacuum pull each tail half with ten grams of lobster butter.
Preparation method: lobster butter
- Roast the lobster shells at 180°C. Transfer to a container and pour in the brown butter and let it set and infuse for 24 hours.
- Strain the liquid and set in the fridge.
Finishing & presentation
- Have a water bath ready at 60°C.
- Cook the lobster tail in the water bath for two minutes
- Put the lobster butter in a very hot pan and fry the tail on the red side for a few seconds to get a crisp surface but keeping the meat creamy and soft.
- Take the skewer out of the tail. Use a knife to trim the edge of the tail on the thick side and generously salt the tail.
- Heat the sausage purée to 60°C.
- Place a half spoon of purée on the right side of the plate. Place parchment paper on top and with the help of a flat surface press the purée down to make a circle of approximately 3mm thickness and 9cm diameter. Pull out the paper on the opposite corners at the same time so it makes a relief on the purée.
- Place the lobster tail to the left side on top of the purée and cover with the tomato chip.