Thursday, August 21, 2014

Brooke Dojny: True or False? A Pop Quiz and Sandwich Recipe for Lobster Lovers

Get a crustacean education before digging into this layered sandwich from Lobster!

Deluxe Lobster Club on Brioche with Saffron Mayo. Photo © Sabra Krock.
Female lobsters are sweeter and less tough than male lobsters.
False. Gender has nothing to do with sweetness or tenderness.

Lobsters are high in cholesterol and fat.
False. Lobster has less of both than skinless chicken.

Maine sells the biggest lobsters.
False. In order to protect the fishery, Maine law forbids taking lobsters measuring more than 5 inches from the eye sockets to the top of the tail. The largest recorded lobster was caught off Nova Scotia and was 3½ feet long and weighed more than 44 pounds.

Soft-shell and hard-shell lobsters contain different amounts of meat.
True. A 1½-pound hard-shell lobster yields about 8 ounces of meat; a newly-molted soft-shell of similar size contains only about 5½ ounces of meat.

Lobsters scream when you cook them.
False. The high-pitched noise you occasionally hear when lobsters hit the boiling water is steam escaping from the shell.

Live lobsters should be stored in sea water until they are cooked.
True and false. Ideally, lobsters should be stored in underwater “lobster cars” tied to a dock or boat, or in a tank of circulating sea water. Soft-shells should be cooked the same day they are removed from sea water, but hard-shells can be stored in the refrigerator overnight, wrapped in damp newspaper. Immersing lobsters in fresh water kills them.

Lobster traps have kitchens and parlors.
True. The “kitchen” is the first chamber of a lobster trap, where the lobster goes to eat the bait; the inner chamber of the trap is called the “parlor,” (also sometimes the “bedroom”), where the lobster is confined to await the lobster fisherman.

The green tomalley is a delicacy.
True and false. The tomalley is full of wonderful lobster flavor but it is a filter organ so eating it in moderation and with discretion is advised.

Soft-shell lobsters are plentiful and less expensive in the summer months, so now is the time to splurge on lovely lobster salads or stews, or on this gorgeous Lobster Club Sandwich.

Deluxe Lobster Club on Brioche with Saffron Mayo

Anne Rosenzweig came up with a brilliant conceit when she created the magnificent lobster club sandwich on buttery brioche for her New York restaurant Arcadia in the 1980s. I have taken it one step further with the addition of the saffron mayo—which, if you’re not partial to this pungent seasoning, you can skip, of course.

2 servings

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
3 tablespoons mayonnaise, plus more for spreading
1 cup chopped cooked lobster meat (5 ounces) (see Note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 strips bacon
6 or more thin slices brioche or challah (see Note), lightly toasted
Several leaves crisp lettuce, such as romaine
1 medium-large ripe tomato, sliced

  1. Combine the vinegar and saffron in a small saucepan. Heat gently for 1 to 2 minutes, using the back of a spoon to help crush and dissolve the saffron. Whisk the saffron vinegar into the 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Toss the lobster meat with the saffron mayo, season with salt and pepper to taste, and refrigerate. (Can be made up to 4 hours ahead.)
  2. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 10 to 15 minutes (or cook it in a microwave). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  3. Spread plain mayonnaise on each of the toasted bread slices. Layer on lettuce leaves, then the lobster salad, and sandwich with a second slice of bread, mayonnaise side up. Layer tomato and bacon on top of the second bread slice, and then top with a third slice of bread.
  4. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally, skewer with a toothpick to hold the layers together, and serve.
  1. Cook one 1¼-pound hard-shell lobster or two 1-pound soft-shells and remove the meat or buy picked-out meat.
  2. The number of bread slices depends on the size of the loaf. Challah is often shaped into a long braid, so you could make twice as many small sandwiches or try slicing on the diagonal to make larger slices.

Recipe excerpted from Lobster! © 2012 by Brooke Dojny. Photo © Sabra Krock. All rights reserved.

Brooke Dojny is the author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including The New England Clam Shack Cookbook, Dishing Up® Maine, and Lobster! (all Storey Publishing). She won the James Beard Award in 1997 for The AMA Family Cookbook, co-authored with Melanie Barnard. Brooke started her culinary career in the 1980s when she worked as a catering directress for Martha Stewart. From 1990 to 2004, Brooke co-authored (with Melanie Barnard) Bon Appetit’s monthly “Every-Night Cooking” column. She has written for most of the other major culinary magazines and has been a regular contributor to Down East Magazine. She lives on the coast of Maine, where she can be found hanging out at clam shacks and farmers’ markets. Her next book for Storey is Chowderland, to be published in 2015.

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