Thomas Reagan, a personal chef from Kennebunk, took home the title of Maine Lobster Chef of the Year last week at Harvest on the Harbor. Here is the recipe that won over the audience of 200 lobster lovers.

SLOW-POACHED MAINE LOBSTER TAIL NIPPONESE

This dish consists of a lobster tail poached in lemon butter sauce served atop a black and white sesame seed-coated rice cake with an orange miso coleslaw garnish.

RICE CAKE:

Preparation time: 15 minutes

4 cups cooked sushi rice, according to package instructions, still hot

1/4 cup mirin

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

Place hot rice in stainless steel bowl. Add all ingredients except seeds. Blend very well with rubber spatula.

Put mixture in Pyrex dish, pack firmly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Mixture should be about 1 inch deep and may not fill entire dish. Best if left overnight to chill. 

Mix black and white sesame seeds together, spread over pie pan or other flat surface. Cut cooled rice mixture into 2-inch strips and remove dish. Cut into desired shape with sharp chef’s knife. Garnish sides of rice cakes by pressing onto seeds. Rice cakes can be made several days in advance. Refrigerate to store.

To serve, put on sheet pan, heat at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

ORANGE MISO COLESLAW DRESSING:

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Zest of 1 orange

1 cup fresh-squeezed orange (about 4 juicy oranges)

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon grated garlic

1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste

3/4 teaspoon tamari

2 teaspoons white miso

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon mirin

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Pinch of salt

Zest one orange then juice all oranges, strain out pulp and place in sauce pan with ginger and garlic. Reduce to 1/4 cup of orange syrup.

Put syrup and remaining ingredients except vegetable oil and salt in blender. On high speed, slowly add oil to emulsify. Season dressing with just a pinch of salt if needed.

Funnel into squeeze bottle for service. Coleslaw dressing can be made several days in advance. Refrigerate to store.

Bring to room temperature before serving. Shake well before using.  

COLESLAW VEGETABLE PREPARATION:

Preparation time: 15 minutes

1 small zucchini

1 carrot

1 summer squash

1 cup shredded Savoy cabbage

1 cup shredded red cabbage

2 or 3 shitake mushrooms, caps only

Wash carrot, zucchini and squash. Peel carrot and fine-julienne it using mandolin into 1½-inch lengths. 

Use mandolin to julienne the outer portion of the zucchini and squash, the same size as the carrot, being conscious to maintain a uniform and colorful peel. 

Shred or finely slice cabbages. Finely slice mushroom caps. Toss vegetables and mushrooms in a stainless steel bowl to mix ingredients. 

Chill covered until needed. Mix can be made a day in advance.

Fifteen minutes before service toss vegetable mix with miso dressing to taste, about 1/3 cup. Check seasoning.

LOBSTER TAIL:

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Four 1 1/2-pound, hard-shell lobsters

Steam whole lobster for two minutes, then remove with tongs. 

Twist tail off body. Remove parcooked tail meat, whole. Clean tail of tamale remnants. Remove intestinal vein (optional step).

Skewer tail to maintain shape before poaching.

Save claws and knuckles to make stew or lobster rolls.

LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:

Preparation time: 15 minutes

1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup dry white wine

3 teaspoons minced shallot

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup unsalted butter, cubed, cold

2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

Pinch salt

Reduce vinegar and wine with shallots to a syrup consistency in sauce pan on medium heat about five minutes. Add heavy cream to reduction.  Reduce cream for a minute until thickened. Whisk in cold butter one cube at a time until fully incorporated and just starting to simmer. 

Whisk in lemon juice and salt to taste. This is the slow-poaching liquid. Keep liquid very warm, approximately 150 degrees. 

Place lobster tails in sauce and return to simmer. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand about 10 minutes. Return to heat for a minute or two prior to service.

PLATING:

Place rice cake in center of plate. Artfully place tail on rice cake. Garnish with coleslaw. Drizzle small amount of lemon butter sauce and coleslaw dressing on plate and lobster. Serve immediately.