WHY MY “EMOTIONAL LOBSTER” FUELS BOTH TASTE BUDS AND LOCAL COMMERCE
BY CHEF DAVID BURKE
When the concept for Drifthouse began to take shape in my mind, with its iconic Jersey Shore location, I knew lobster had to be on the menu. A dish I called “Emotional ‘Angry’ Lobster” was one of the most requested dishes at my first restaurant, david burke & donatella, in Manhattan. What’s different now, however, is that our lobsters get their own saltwater palace Drifthouse’s custom tank and “oyster spa” that circulates cold and clean saltwater to create conditions just like those in which our Maine lobsters are harvested. Within minutes, we can take a live one from the tank, prepare it, and serve it.
And eating our lobsters not only means enjoying the freshest available, but also supporting family owned Maine businesses operating within a regulated system one that ensures state fisheries continue for generations. So enjoy
EMOTIONAL “ANGRY” LOBSTER
2 cups Wondra flour
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons coarse salt, plus more to taste
3 two pound live lobsters
1 cup peanut oil 8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
1 cup lobster or chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1/2 cup oven dried tomatoes, julienned
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon Rice (recipe follows)
Fried Basil (recipe follows)
For Lemon Rice:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus two optional tablespoons
1/2 cup finely diced onions
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups converted rice
4 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 large zucchini, trimmed, seeded, and diced
For Fried Basil:
4 cups vegetable oil
1 large bunch fresh basil, leaves only, well washed and dried
Lobster: Combine the Wondra flour, chili powder, cayenne, and salt in a plastic bag. Set aside. Cut the live lobsters in half. Remove claws and break them open to expose as much meat as possible. Remove meat from the lobsters and place it into the seasoned flour. Shake to coat well. Remove lobster from the flour and shake off any excess.
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until smoking. Add lobster pieces cut side down, a few at a time if necessary, and sear them for about four minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer lobster to a baking sheet and when all of it is seared, place baking sheet in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
While the lobster is baking, prepare the sauce. Return the sauté pan to medium heat and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about three minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown, but not burned. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for five minutes. Whisk in the butter and remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in lemon juice, basil leaves, and tomato julienne. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove lobster from the oven. Place a mound of lemon rice in the center of each of six plates. Place equal portions of the lobster over rice. Spoon sauce over the top of each mound and garnish with fried basil. Serve immediately.
Lemon Rice: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and allow them to sweat their liquid for four minutes. Add the garlic and sweat for an additional three minutes. Stir in the rice and sauté it for a minute. Add the stock (or water), lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Raise the heat and bring stock to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to about 1.5 cups. Lower heat and tightly cover the rice. (If you don’t have a tight fitting lid, cover with aluminum foil.) Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all of liquid. Remove pan from the heat and allow rice to steam for 15 minutes (do not uncover pan). When ready to serve, fluff rice with a fork.
If using the zucchini, while the rice is resting, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add zucchini and sauté for four minutes, or just until slightly softened. Season with salt and pepper. When ready to serve rice, add zucchini and fluff it into the rice.
Fried Basil: Heat oil to 350°F in a large saucepan over high heat. Standing as far back as possible and wearing an oven mitt, drop basil leaves into hot oil (which may bubble and splatter). Fry for about a minute, or until leaves are crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a double layer of paper towels to drain.
Recipe from David Burke’s New American Classics: Brilliant Variations on Traditional Dishes for Everyday Dining, Entertaining, and Second Day Meal, by David Burke and Judith Choate (Alfred A. Knopf, 2006)