Sunday, October 30, 2011

Baby Lobster Rolls

I had a sudden hankering for a lobster roll that soon became an obsession.  So much so, that I found myself obsessively surfing the internet to find someone to send me a Main lobster, but the price point quickly took me out of the market.  It was so expensive that it seemed to make more sense to hop on a plane to Maine than have them ship me a lobster which I would just turn into lobster salad.  I couldn’t do it.   All I can say on that subject; is if a Maine lobster showed up at my door, I was going to eat it in its purest form.  Not dressed up.   So that was the end of that.

The first time I had langoustines was years ago in Canada at an Italian restaurant that served them sautéed in a pasta dish.  I remember liking them so much that I went back to the same restaurant the next night and ordered them again. 
The langoustines were a stumble upon item that I found at Costco.  I haven't seen them available here until today, not even at my fishmonger.  They were wild caught, fully cooked, peeled and ready to eat according to the package.  And since the package read, Langostino "Lobster Tails" it got me thinking that this might be the fix I needed for my lobster roll craving, but I wasn't sure.  It had been years since I ate them and even though I had fond memories, I didn't know if it was wise to invest in a two pound bag right off the bat.  I picked them up, thought about it a little more, then put them back and continued to do my shopping.  The next thing I knew, I was back at the freezer, hemming and hawing whether they could satisfy my lobster roll obsession.  I couldn't get the idea out of my head.  I must have subconsciously wanted them to work or I wouldn’t have gone back, at least that was my reasoning.  So I tossed the two pound pack in my cart visualizing baby lobster rolls.  Fully knowing that the langoustines were either going to impress my palate or burst my memory.
Just because I didn’t have the authentic ingredients readily available to me, such as fresh lobster meat or a New England style top split bun, which would have been lovely.  That wasn’t going to stop me from eating a lobster roll, or at least, a baby lobster roll.  I was willing to fake it with langoustines and a side split hot dog bun.  So, this is my rendition of a west coast lobster roll made with langoustines, also known as baby lobster tails.

Because one has to do, what one needs to do, when a hankering becomes an obsession.

The langoustines impressed my palate, certainly not like a fresh cooked live Maine lobster would, I’m sure.  But the langoustine was a great sub that satisfied my craving.  They taste like a cross between a lobster and a shrimp with a tender bite that was closer to lobster than shrimp.   Their flavor was clean and sweet.  It was a perfect match for the grilled cheese like buttery toasted hot dog bun.   These baby lobster rolls were a hit.  It’s just too bad that I only made four, because we all wanted more.  Luckily I brought home a two pound bag so I could make them again real soon.

I kept my dressing light and basic so that the langoustines would be the main event.  But you could add celery and fresh parsley as well as other fresh herbs if you choose.  I also want to note that it is very important to remove the excess liquid from the langoustines so you won’t end up with a watery salad.  I accomplish this by wrapping them in a paper towel and giving them a squeeze.  You will be quite surprised as to how much liquid comes out of the defrosted langoustines.

BABY LOBSTER SALAD ROLLS (makes 4 sandwiches)

                                                butter, for buns
4                                              hot dog buns
1              pound                   langoustines, excess liquid squeezed out

1/3         cup                         mayonnaise
1              tsp.                        green onions, minced
¼             tsp.                        black pepper
1              dash                      tabasco sauce
                pinch                     kosher salt
a              squeeze               of lemon juice

Defrost langoustine overnight in the fridge or set them in a bowl of cold tap water for about 10 - 15 minutes or until they have defrosted.  Drain excess liquid.  Wrap langoustines in a paper towel and give it a little squeeze to remove the remaining moisture.  Set aside while you make the dressing.

Mix all dressing ingredients together and blend well.  Toss with the langoustine and keep chilled until ready to use.

Spread butter on the inside of the buns and toast lightly over medium heat until golden brown.

Place 1/4 of the langoustine salad in each bun and enjoy.

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