12 November 2010

12 November - Lobsters and Leotard

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, lobsters move to offshore waters now.

And snowbirds move to Florida.  It's all the same.
He'd fly through the air, with the greatest of ease
A daring young man on the flying trapeze!
His movements were graceful, all girls he could please,
And my poor love he purloined away...

Today in 1859, Jules Leotard of Toulouse (c1842 - 1870) performed for the first time on the Flying Trapeze. [read here for the different kinds of trapeze, of which the 'Flying' is only one].  This momentous exhibition took place in Paris, and, as might be expected, was an instant hit.

The son of a gymnastics teacher (which must have helped), Jules was schooled with an eye to becoming a lawyer.  However, instead of the mental gymnastics in which a successful lawyer must engage, he opted for physical gymnastics and developed the art of the Flying Trapeze.

He was the first to complete a full mid-air somersault as he leaped from on bar to another, and eventually developed an act utilizing three trapezes.

His maillot, the one-piece, skin-tight garment which he wore to facilitate his exertions (and which showed off his splendid physique) no doubt caused many a young woman to swoon, and likely led to not a few unchaste dreams.  Years after his death, the maillot started being referred to as the 'leotard', and appears today in forms that would make even Jules blush.

Celebrities usually had dishes named for them - Spaghetti Caruso, Peach Melba - and while I haven't found it yet, I have no doubt that some enterprising chef of the 1860s named his latest creation in honor of the High-Flying Wonder.  Pending discovery of that recipe, let us enjoy LOBSTER QUICHE (and call it 'Lobster Leotard'). 

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry (either your own or store-bought) and flute the edges.  Prick the bottom with a fork, line the bottom with foil and fill with beans or pie weights.  Bake for 8 minutes; remove foil and beans  and bake about 3 minutes more.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Reduce oven to 375 degrees F.

Saute 2 tablespoons of finely chopped green onion in 2 tablespoons of butter for a couple of minutes; spread on bottom of pastry shell.  Top with 1-1/4 cups of either fresh cooked lobster or canned lobster (or even pretend lobster) and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of fresh dill.

Scald 1-1/4 cups of heavy cream.  Set aside.

In a bowl, lightly beat 4 eggs; stir in 2 tablespoons of white wine, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the scalded cream.  Pour mixture into pie shell over onions and lobster.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set.

Serve with the rest of the white wine.