Langostino Lobster Rolls with Spring Peas

These “lobster” rolls are made with Langostino tail meat. Langostino is not really a lobster, and costs significantly less. Its flavor and texture are very similar, and restaurants sometimes substitute Langostino to offer lobster-like dishes at a lower price. Some species of langostino look somewhat like a flattened lobster, while others resemble a prawn. What we call Langostino in the US is the meat of the squat lobster, which is neither a true lobster nor a prawn, but more closely related to porcelain and hermit crabs.

I love lobster rolls, having first enjoyed them on the East Coast when visiting family. Sweet lobster in a light lemony dressing on a soft roll with a side of slaw is about as New England as it gets. The recipe here uses langostino for cost savings, but can be made with regular lobster if that is your preference. If I want to splurge, I’ll make this with real, fresh lobster.

For a twist I added spring peas. They are purely optional and may offend a lobster roll purist, so leave them out if they are not your thing. I like their fresh sweet taste, and happened to have an abundance of them on hand. They bring additional texture and flavor, but if they are not available or desired, the recipe is delicious without them.

Ingredients

3  Cups cooked Langostino or Lobster meat
1/2 Cup Spring Peas, shelled (optional)
1/3 - 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives, minced
2 Tablespoons Fresh Italian Parsley, minced
1 Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
6 Sausage Rolls, Hot Dog Buns or other soft sandwich rolls, Split
2 - 4 Tablespoons of butter

Instructions

  1. Combine langostinos or lobster, peas, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, parsley, Old Bay, and cayenne if desired, in a mixing bowl.
  2. Taste the salad and adjust seasonings; adding salt and pepper if desired.
  3. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate salad; it will store well for several hours if needed before moving on to next step.
  4. Butter preferred rolls and toast, butter side down, on a preheated grill or in a skillet on the stove top, working in batches. Alternately, you could place in a toaster oven and toast with butter side up on a bagel setting. Toast until inside of bun is a golden brown.
  5. Fill each bun with about 1/2 cup of the langostino or lobster salad.
  6. Serve immediately.

Notes

These sandwiches can be used as either a main course or an appetizer. Slicing the filled rolls into three pieces will make a nice appetizer sized serving.

I initially frowned on the use of hot dog buns when experimenting with this recipe, but they have the right balance of flavor and texture so they don’t overpower the delicate texture and flavor of the filling.

Use the freshest ingredients possible, this sandwich has well balanced flavors and fresh juice and herbs are the key.

Mushroom, Pancetta & Italian Sausage Stromboli

Stromboli is spiral of Italian goodness. Traditionally, it is made with pizza dough or bread dough. The dough is shaped into a rectangle for rolling with meats, vegetables and cheeses. Unlike pizza or calzone, sauce is not used when forming the Stromboli as it it brings too much moisture. Some people do choose to do this, but if so, it must be done with a light hand.

Departing from tradition, this Stromboli is made using puff pastry instead of bread or pizza dough which take time to rise. It is quick and easy to thaw, and makes an amazing flakey brown crust.

Sliced Stromboli with Marinara

Ingredients

8 oz Pancetta, chopped fine
6 oz. Sweet Italian Sausage
1 large Shallot
16 oz. White Mushrooms
4 oz. Oyster Mushrooms
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Flat-Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped fine
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 Sheets Puff Pastry (1 box)
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon Water

Instructions

  1. In a large deep dish skillet or dutch oven over medium heat, cook Italian Sausage until no longer pink and beginning to brown, crumbling the sausage as it cooks. Remove sausage from pan and place in a bowl lined with paper towels to drain. Wipe all residual fat that has rendered from the pan away with a paper towel (drain the pain if sausage is very fatty)
  2. Add Pancetta to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the fat renders, 10-12 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking pancetta until it is crisp.
  3. While the Pancetta cooks, finely chop shallots with a knife or foood processor and place in a bowl. Do the same with the mushrooms, placing in a separate bowl once finely chopped.
  4. When the Pancetta is finished cooking, add the shallots to the pan with the pancetta and rendered fats. Cook until the shallots are tender about 5 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released all their liquid and begin to brown. It is important that the mushrooms are dry. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. While mushrooms cool, roll out the two puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface into 12″ X 10″ rectangles.
  7. Add Parmesan and Italian parsley to the cooled mushrooms. The residual heat from the cooking will melt the cheese and wilt the parsley. Taste before seasoning as the Italian Sausage and Pancetta and Parmesan carry salts and seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  8. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Divide mushroom mixture in half and spread half on each rolled pastry sheet, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the long sides, and a 1-inch border on the top and bottom of the pastry sheet.
  10. Make an egg wash by beating the egg with the water in a small bowl.
  11. Using a pastry brush, place a strip of egg wash along the top border of each pastry sheet.
  12. Roll first pastry, starting at the short edge closest to you towards the top border with egg wash. Roll tightly and uniformly to make a log. Seal the roll using the moisture from the egg wash. Place seam side down on the pastry sheet. Repeat with second pastry.
  13. Brush each Stromboli roll with egg wash. Fold ends under sealing the filling inside.
  14. Bake Strombolifor 15 – 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
  15. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of your choice. Try the basic marinara sauce here.

Notes:

  1. It is very important that the filling is dry to prevent a soggy crust. Allow yourself at least an hour of cooking time and do not rush the process of cooking the mushrooms until dry.
  2. Keeping fats from the sausage and pancetta to be just enough to prevent sticking of the shallots and mushrooms during cooking will help keep the dish dry.
  3. Using a large skillet helps keep mushrooms in a thinner layer, increasing cooking surface and allowing liquids to evaporate.
  4. Use your favorite combination of mushrooms…just keep the weight to 20 oz. total mushrooms before cooking.
  5. A garlicky white sauce would be a good alternate for dipping.

Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail

This is fun recipe that can be served at brunch, or as a starter for a casual summer supper. It can also be turned into appetizer shooters if desired, a total of 24 shooters can be made from this recipe. But I like more shrimp and less Mary to make it a beautiful appetizer. The vodka can be omitted for the flavor without the kick, or to include the younger generation in this fine feast.

Bloody Good!

Ingredients

Bloody Mary
2 quartz Tomato Juice
1 teaspoon Celery Seed
3 Tablespoons Hot Sauce
2 Tablespoons Worchestershire
3 Tablespoons Prepared or Freshly Grated Horseradish
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
3 Limes Juiced
1.5 Cups Vodka (optional can omit for a non-alcoholic version)
Garnishes - Lemon or Lime Wedges, Celery Stick, Pickled Asparagus, Dilly Beans, Olives, Bacon Strips, Cubed Cheese on picks - be creative here!

Poached Shrimp
2 Dozen large raw shrimp (12 or under per pound), peeled and deveined.
2 Quartz Water
3 Bay Leaves
2 Lemons, cut in half
4 Tablespoons Old Bay Season
1 Teaspoon Salt

Instructions

  1. Make Bloody Mary: Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher and stir to fully blend. Chill in the refrigerator.
  2. Make cooking stock: Place all ingredients except shrimp in a large stock pot. Sqeeze juice out of the lemons into the liquid and then add the left over rind. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
  3. Cook shrimp: While stock is still simmering, add shrimp and poach for 5 minutes until shrimp are just cooked through. They will turn bright pink and curl.
  4. Pour Bloody Mary into serving glasses and garnish with shrimp and vegetables, or whatever your heart desires.