For the Seafood Platter:
To assemble the seafood platter, cover a large serving platter with a layer of crushed or cubed ice. Arrange the cooked, chilled seafood on top. I like to keep the lobsters and langoustines whole as I think they look better presented like that. Be sure to crack the crab claws to help guests easily extract the meat. Serve with lemon slices, melted butter and White Wine & Tarragon Sauce in ramekins on the side.
For the White Wine Steamed Mussels:
Make sure you clean all the mussels well by rinsing them under fresh running water. Be sure to remove the beard (the hairy strands attached to the mussels) and discard any damaged or dead mussels. If any mussels appear to be open, gently tap them on the side of your sink. If they do not close when tapped, discard them, as this indicates that they are not still alive. If you clean your mussels in advance be sure to keep them in a colander set above a bowl and covered with a damp paper towel in the refrigerator until ready to use.
In large stock pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the shallot and garlic and fry until softened and beginning to color slightly, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the cleaned mussels and pour in the white wine (it should start to bubble immediately). Cover the pot and let the mussels steam for about 5-7 minutes, stirring once halfway through. You will know the mussels are done cooking when they have opened their shells. Any that have not opened should be discarded.
Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels from the pot and set aside to cool. Discard the remaining liquid in the pot. Once cool, refrigerate the mussels until you are ready to assemble your platter.
For the White Wine & Tarragon Sauce:
In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, add the garlic and shallots and saute, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the tarragon and cook until the leaves have wilted, about 1 minute. Add the wine and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low heat for approximately 5 minutes. Taste and add more butter if you find the sauce to be too acidic. Adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.
If you can’t buy your seafood pre-cooked, you can cook everything in salted boiling water (sometimes I also add a vegetable bouillon cube for more flavor) for the following times:
Lobster – a 1 ½ pound lobster will take 10-15 minutes
Langoustine – 5 minutes (do these in batches so you do not overcrowd the pot)
Shrimp – 3 minutes
Crab claws – 8 minutes (these are also nice steamed)