In a tall stockpot, bring 5 cups water, the vodka, sugar, and 1 tsp. salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, kill the lobsters.
Add the lobsters to the pot and steam, covered, until they’re bright red and a small leg easily pulls away from the body, about 10 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
Discard all but 2 cups of the lobster cooking liquid. Vigorously boil the remaining liquid in the stockpot, skimming off any foam, until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 9 minutes.
Heat the oil in an 8-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallot, thyme, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it darkens slightly, about 1 minute. Add the reduced cooking liquid, increase the heat to medium, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter, 1 Tbs. at a time, until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the lobsters with the dipping sauce on the side.
Start the meal with Green Salad with Prosciutto, Avocado, and Pears, and finish it with a quick version of a classic French pudding: Bittersweet Chocolate Pots de Crème.
nutrition information (per serving):
22, Fat Calories
190, Saturated Fat
46, Monounsaturated Fat
12, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips