Lobster Cassoulet With Butter Beans

Lobster Cassoulet With Butter Beans
(Serves 4)
Recipe Courtesy of Chef Jonathon Sawyer

Chef Sawyer hopes to open a gastropub in 2008. But you don’t have to wait to try this recipe. It’s the kind of dish he’ll serve there.


2 whole lobsters
1 dozen razor clams
1 dozen littleneck clams
3 cup tomato cassoulet base (recipe follows)
1/4 cup dry white wine (viogner)
1 cup  bread crumbs (fresh, ¼’ cubed, toasted)
1 tablespoon thyme (fresh, picked)
1 tablespoon good quality finishing extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Separate lobsters, while still alive, into three sections: claws, tails and body. Clean all clams. If razor or littleneck clams are not fresh or available, purchase whatever shellfish is the freshest. (mussels, cockles, crayfish, rock shrimp, etc …)

2. In a large pot, bring 2 salted gallons of water to a low simmer. Blanch lobster claws for 7 minutes and tails for 4 minutes. As soon as the lobster meat comes out of the water, shock them in an ice bath. Now remove the meat from the shells.

3. In a large sauté pan add all the clams to the 1/4 cup of white wine. Steam the clams over high heat until they all open (approximately 10 minutes) and discard any that do not. Add the Cassoulet base to the sauté pan and reduce heat to low. Stir in the lobster meat, being careful not to break or disrupt any of the seafood. Taste the cassoulet now to check the seasoning.

4. Top with 1/2-tbsp fresh thyme and all the bread crumbs and broil until golden brown. Finish with the extra-virgin olive oil.

Shellfish Cassoulet Base


2 ounces Ohio butter (hartzler, Amish etc …)
2 white Ohio onions (1-inch diced)
2 leeks (1-inch diced)
1 head of fenne, diced
1 head of celery, diced
1 pound cuttlefish, diced
12 oz  high quality whole peeled canned tomatoes (San Marzano)
1 cup  dry white wine (viogner)
1 cup butter beans (soaked, cooked, stored in extra-virgin olive oil, or high quality store bought)
1 bunch thyme (tied with twine)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a heavy bottomed sauce pot, heat 2 ounces of butter over medium low heat. Add all the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, cover and sweat over low heat for at least 10 minutes.

2. Add the cuttlefish, white wine and thyme, and cook uncovered until half the wine is reduced. Add the butter beans and tomatoes and simmer uncovered for about one hour.

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