Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Luxurious Left-overs


Bad rapport, eh? Truth of the matter... when you dine in a restaurant, you are essentially eating warmed-up left-overs (sans to-order cooked proteins). I know, way to burst your bubble.

However, when working with gourmet products (think lobster, crab, filet mignon, caviar, etc.), is it criminal to discard the luxurious nourriture. I had a few lose odds and ends of lobster pieces from a recent dinner party. Ergo, create a dish with the sweet and aromatic seafood.

Lobster tail ceviche.

1 cup lobster (uncooked) pieces
1 small roma tomato - deseed and dice
1 small orange - juice and 1 tsp zest
1 small lemon - juice and 1 tsp zest
1 small lime - juice and 1 tsp zest
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 small jalapeño pepper - deseed and dice small
1 small shallot - diced
1/4 avocado - dice
1 cup of EVOO
Salt and pepper, to taste

A true ceviche uses the citrus juices to marinade and cook the fish. However, I prefer blanching the lobster in warmed EVOO in order to enhance the lavish flavors of the seafood. Simply warm a small sauce pan of olive oil (about 1 cup) and add the lobster pieces. Allow to gently poach for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. The small lobster pieces should turn from translucent into a light pink color... not fully cooked, but a gentle poach.

Place the poached lobster pieces in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

When plating, build volume by stacking the ingredients in the middle of a white plate. Top with micro-greens and a drizzle of EVOO. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

A few additional dishes to compliment the lobster ceviche?

Red and White quinoa with red onions, red/yellow/orange bell pepper, cilantro vinaigrette. Quinoa is a brilliant side dish, as it is a versatile pseudo-grain: it can be paired with both meat and seafood. Quinoa can also be used to thicken soups (in place of roux), as well as incorporated into salads, tossed with sautéed vegetables and even synthesized into crab cakes.

Scallops with portabella mushrooms, cauliflower puree and reduced balsamic vinaigrette. Even "less than perfect" scallops can be utilized via sauté. Sure, they may not resemble perfect circular mollusks if blemished; however, they taste is still present. If cooking torn scallops, simply be creative in presentation. For example, scallops pair well with a plethora of sautéed vegetables. I happened to have portabella mushrooms (as well as a cauliflower puree). I had two "perfect" scallops and one that was... well, the "black sheep," if you will. After sautéing the scallops to create a light golden crust, I simply used my plating techniques to "hide" the blemished scallop. A clean swipe of cauliflower puree on the bottom of the plate, then scallops in a non-uniform pattern. The sautéed portabella mushrooms were then added... to the side of the perfect scallops and simply atop the ripped scallop. Quick drizzle of reduced balsamic vinaigrette, micro greens and a touch of love. Good to go.

Shrimp taco in a lettuce wrap with sweet/spicy bell peppers, corn, cilantro and red onions. Rather than re-warming previously cooked shrimp (this will only cook them further and turn them into rubber, gummy unpleasant bites), simply create an easy and healthy shrimp taco. Sauté red/orange/yellow bell peppers in EVOO as well as a few onions. As the vegetables begin to caramelize, their natural sugars will be released, creating their own natural sweet sauce. A drizzle of lemon juice, as well as salt and pinch of cayenne pepper will do the trick. Once tender, remove from heat and add pre-blanched corn, fresh cilantro and a few raw red onions - sliced thin. Mix in the shrimp and wrap in large lettuce-head leaves. The crunch of the lettuce will be a nice compliment to the sweet/spicy peppers. Top with Greek yogurt and more fresh cilantro.

You are familiar with the old adage, "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

In terms of leftovers... allow your inner-chef to be innovative and create treasure.


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