Sacrifice is defined as ‘the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.’ We make sacrifices every day, both large and small. Lately, I’ve had to sacrifice my family for the sake of this new restaurant, my daughters aren’t very happy with me. I’ve also sacrificed friends, meetups, twitter for the most part, this blog obviously, and most importantly, sleep. I tell myself it’s all for the greater good of establishing this restaurant, which I believe in wholeheartedly. It’s been awhile since I could put my stamp on something that has this big of a spotlight on it.
But this week marks a slight return to normalcy. The management and staff is in place and well trained, the menu, while not perfect, only needs a few minor tweaks here and there before I am completely happy with it and thus, ready to change it. And while I still don’t have any days off on the schedule for another month, I at least have time to start working on this site in my big, fancy new kitchen.
The first post from the restaurant kitchen is a dish that has quickly become the early favorite for the ‘signature’ dish of this kitchen. This is actually a dish I created at a restaurant back in 2008, but no one paid attention to that restaurant. It’s a simple appetizer that carries a lot of punch you can do at home.
This dish features, along with the Maine lobster sautéed in butter, a rich and tart tomatillo sauce that can be used on any seafood, poultry or grilled pork dish. You must try this with a glass of Pinot Gris.
First, make the Tomatillo Sauce…
2 lbs tomatillos, rinsed and quartered
1 oz olive oil
1 large yellow onion, rough chopped
5 garlic cloves, smashed
2 poblano chiles
¼ cup cilantro chiffonade
Juice of 1 lime
kosher salt to taste
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat a medium size sauce pot on high heat.
3. Add the olive oil to the pot.
4. Gently add the tomatillos, onions, garlic and poblanos.
5. Cook on high, stirring frequently, until the onions start to color and the tomatillos begin to release their liquid (you’ll notice water begin to pool at the bottom of the pot).
6. place the pot in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
7. Remove the pot from the oven and puree the tomatillo mixture in a blender or with a buerre mixer.
8. Add the cilantro and lime juice.
9. Season to taste with kosher salt.
10. Serve warm or cool immediately to be reheated for serving at a later time.
6 oz lobster meat, chopped
1 Tbs butter
1 cup romaine, chiffonade
4 corn tortillas
1 cup corn oil
1. Heat the oil on medium heat for blanching the tortillas.
2. In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
3. Add the lobster and cook just until the lobster warms up.
4. Dip each tortilla in the hot corn oil for 2 seconds and remove to towel to drain. This step helps the tortillas roll into a nice shape and keeps the tortilla from drying out and becoming crumbly.
5. Once the tortillas have drained sufficiently, fill each tortilla with lobster and romaine chiffonade.
6. Roll the tortillas and place on a plate in the Tomatillo Sauce.
Charred Tomato Salsa
2 tomatoes, charred
½ large yellow onion
1 jalapeno pepper
½ cup cilantro, loosely packed
juice of 1 lime
1 oz olive oil
1 Tbs kosher salt
You can char the tomatoes on a grill or broil in your oven. We use a torch in the kitchen. The idea is to blacken the skin without ‘cooking’ the tomato when it becomes soft and loses its tart vibrancy. Core the tomatoes and rough chop them. We use a food processor in the kitchen to gently pulse the tomatoes, onions, peppers and cilantro to a wet but chunky consistency. Remove from the processor, to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. The salsa, as with most things, tastes better on the 2nd day but is still flavorful once it has been made.
For the lime crema, you can use sour cream or make your own crème fraiche. We use crème fraiche at the restaurant seasoned with a little lime juice, ancho puree and salt.
For a final garnish, we finish the tacos with a tangle of fine dried chile thread.