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First lunch as President

Posted by Sheryl Julian  January 21, 2009 02:05 PM

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After the swearing-in ceremony, President Obama's lunch -- the one where Senator Kennedy collapsed -- included seafood stew. Here is Chef Shannon Shaffer making the dish. Lunch was served at the U.S. Capitol building and catered by Design Cuisine of Arlington, Va.

The menu went on to include pheasant with wild rice, duck breasts with cherry chutney, molasses-whipped sweet potatoes, winter vegetables, and cinnamon-apple sponge cake. The stew, according to Guardian newspaper reporter Daniel Nasaw, was baked in individual serving dishes with puff pastry caps.

Lobsters for the dish came from Maine; it would be nice with our sea scallops and cod (they used black cod). It seems really creamy. But then, I don't need as much fortification. I didn't get up at dawn and dance until the wee hours.

Seafood stew
Serves 10

1 gallon water
6 Maine lobsters (1 pound each)
20 medium sea scallops
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled
1 pound cod
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 leek, finely chopped
1/2 russet potato, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pinch ground nutmeg
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup dry vermouth
10 rounds puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Bring the water to a boil; poach lobsters, then the shrimp, then the cod, and finally the scallops. The seafood should not be cooked through; it will cook more later. Remove all the seafood from the water. Reserve the cooking liquid and bring to boil.
2. In the seafood water, cook the carrot, celery, leek, and potato for 10 minutes or tender.
3. Let the liquid boil until only 1 quart of liquid remains. This will be the base for the sauce.
4. Add the vermouth and heavy cream and let the mixture bubble steadily until reduced by half. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. You have reached your desired thickness when the sauce will cover the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool.
5. Cut lobster, shrimp and scallops into bite-size pieces.
6. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand 10 ramekins (about 3 1/2-inches across) or other small heatproof dishes.
7. Fold seafood and vegetables into cool sauce, mixing carefully. Scoop into the dishes. Cover with puff pastry rounds, brush them with egg and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Adapted from Design Cuisine

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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