Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tomato Basil lobster roll

My first lobster roll. Ever. Inspired by Aki and Alex. He says it needs lobster lightly dressed in a mayo based sauce, herbs, a spicy kick, and butter fried Martin potato rolls. For herbs I added a basil puree to a basic white-miso mayo.
I cooked the lobster in my office out of necessity. I went to a local supermarket that specializes in international food for this impoverished-yet-incredibly-diverse south bronx area. Lobster, $5.99/lb. 1 point 3 pounds. Check.
It was alive and kicking when I freaked out showed it to my patient office mate. An hour later I went to check on it in the fridge, and it was dead with a chipped claw. Lobsters are evolution's joke; when they die they're sweet flesh turns to mush unless its cooked immediately. I McGuyvered my way around this problem using two plastic bags, an electric water kettle, tupperware. I brought home cooked lobster that had been chilled, perfect
After harvesting the meat, I was left with about 7 ounces of meat and the rest of the weight in discarded shell.

Normally, I'd roast the shells w/ mirepoix and make a stock, but I had no need for lobster stock, or space in the freezer. Sadly, this had to be dumped.

Next I blistered potatoes. Basic blistering technique. Cut potatoes (in this case all blue, and laratte from the hudson valley) to uniform sizes. Dump them in a pot of mildly salted cold water. Boil, simmer until they are almost falling apart. Remove from water and allow to dry. Place on a pan with oil, and shove in a 350 degree oven until they are, well, blistered. Season aggressively (I reach for kosher salt, smoked salt, smoked paprika, and black pepper).

Next, dress the harvested lobster meat lightly in any mayonnaise based sauce. Basic mayo technique. The ratio I use for mayo is 1 egg yolk per 100-125ml of neutral oil. Place an egg yolk in a bowl, add 1/2 tsp white miso paste, juice of 1/4 lime, zest of 1/2 lime, pinch paprika, pinch of any kind of mustard, s+p. Whisk in oil in a steady stream (this technique works well in a food processor). Taste and adjust the seasoning. It will most likely need more acid since its such a rich sauce, so you can reach for citrus juice, or any type of vinegar (I go for sherry on most occasions, but I used rice vinegar this time). I added basil puree (blanch in boiling water, shock in an ice bath, puree in a blender or food processor with a little oil) for herbaciousness.
I got these beutiful sungold tomatoes from the farmers market the other day, and they were the perfect accompaniment. The acid of the tomato gave the overall dish the burst of flavor it needed.

Honestly, this was a delicious, affordable use of cheap lobster, but the quality of the lobster was seriously lacking. It was want for fresh lobster, and I don't think I'll return to food bazaar for lobster again. A journey dish like this is worth the trip into the city for super fresh lobster from a reputable retailer, or even a ride over to randazzos. The mayo would have benefitted from more white miso, and some lemon juice instead of lime (I found the lime overpowered the basil). Maybe some garlic or anchovy paste would have been a good addition. There you have it world. My lobster roll. Source your ingredients well, and make sure you don't have to troubleshoot a dead lobster in the office. Lesson learned.

I washed it all down with a nice cold Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier. $2.99 at Food bazaar. I've been meaning to try this hefe. It was great with the lobster roll, had some strong grainy notes on the palate and incredibly refreshing. All I needed was a dayboat to be on the LI sound, and it would have been perfect.

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