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.

Mussels with Basque Chorizo

Yeild: 4 Servings

This is actually a quick meal, but tastes amazing. Served in big bowls with lots of the stock and a crusty sour dough for dipping, this can actually be whipped up on a weeknight. For this adventure, I substituted some clams for the mussels because I had them on hand. They have different cooking times and I don’t really recommend this as the best approach to this dish, but it is an option. They are complementary bivalve mollusks, but the clams take longer to cook and must be added 5-10 minutes before the mussels to insure they open.

The Basque Chorizo brings the flavors of sweet red pepper, paprika, and garlic to the game. We are lucky to live in an area that celebrates Basque tradition and these sausages are readily available at a Basque deli in the local area. If Basque Chorizo can’t be found, Spanish Chorizo can be substituted. Mexican Chorizo is made with entirely different spice blend and I have not tried it in this dish. If you are up for experimenting that direction, let me know how that works out.

Measurements in this recipe are a suggestion, and you can easily modify it to your tastes and the number of people you want to serve. We like a lot of soupy broth for soaking up the flavor and bread. You can reduce the liquid volume if you don’t want as much broth. If you don’t keep clam stock on hand, chicken stock can be substituted, it just doesn’t have that briny, ocean flavor. You can eliminate the wine and use all stock. This is up to you.

Ingredients

4 lbs Mussels, live or a mix of Mussels and Clams, cleaned and de-bearded
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 oz. Basque Chorizo,casing removed and diced
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
16 oz. tomatoes, diced (a pint of Cherry tomatoes works well)
8 Oz. Clam Stock (can substitute chicken stock)
8 oz. Dry White Wine
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons, Italian Parsley, minced

Instructions

  1. Rinse and scrub mussels, removing any beard (fuzzy clingy stuff sticking out of the mussel shell). If any mussels are open, discard them – they are not alive. You can tap them to see if they will close, but it they don’t, throw them out.
  2. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large lidded skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add diced Chorizo cook until it begins to brown.
  4. Stir in minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook until tomatoes begin to soften.
  6. Stir in stock and white wine. Cook to reduce by 1/4 and release alcohol.
  7. Add mussels and cover with lid, steam for 10 minutes until the mussels open. If chosing to mix with clams, remember to cook clams first for at least 5-10 minutes until they start to open, and then add the mussels to insure clams cook completely.
  8. Discard any mussels (or clams) that do not open.
  9. To finish: Stir in butter and 1/2 the parsley. Divide into serving bowls and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
  10. Serve with toasted Italian or Sourdough bread.

Kentucky Hot Brown

It’s Kentucky Derby Day! This year I decided to prepare the decadent Kentucky Hot Brown open-faced sandwich as a late lunch/early dinner while we enjoy the Churchill Downs race – the first in the great race for the Triple Crown each year. This year marks the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, and the first result upset in the history of the Race.

The Hot Brown actually has its own history. Still served today at the historic Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, the Hot Brown was invented in the 1920’s for the 1200 guests that frequented their nightly dancing at the hotel. The chef wanted something more glamorous to serve the tired dancers instead of just ham and eggs. The original recipe is shared by the Brown Hotel. The original recipe and history can be found at https://www.brownhotel.com/dining/hot-brown

I stick close to the original recipe, but make a few changes. Not a fan of Texas Toast, I changed the bread to Brioche. I also make a very traditional Mornay Sauce which is made with Gruyere vs. the Pecorino called for by the Brown Hotel. I omit the nutmeg as I have a food intolerance to it – even in small quantities. You, however, can add it back if you prefer its distinct flavor in this creamy cheese sauce.

Ingredients

For the Mornay Sauce
2 1/2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
8 oz. Heavy Cream
8 oz. Whole Milk
2 oz. Gruyere Cheese, grated (plus more for garnishing)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg (optional, I omit)

For the Sandwich
Herb Roasted Turkey Breast, Sliced https://betwixtandcuisine.com/2019/05/04/herb-roasted-turkey-breast/
4 Slices of Brioche Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 Slices of Crispy Bacon
2 Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
Paprika
Parsley

Instructions

In a two‑quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium‑low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream and whole milk into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2‑3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Gruyere cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper. Optionally, add nutmeg.

Cut the crusts off the brioch toast. For each sandwich, keep one slice of toast whole, and cut the other in half diagonally to make toast points. to assemble place a whole slice of brioche toast in an oven safe dish. Add desired turkey slices. Original recipes suggests about 7 oz. Take the two halves of tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Gruyere cheese. Place the entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Linguine with Clams Bagna Cauda Style

This is actually a really quick meal to make. Lots of bold flavor. Don’t let the anchovies throw you off. They brighten the flavor, just like they do in Caesar’s salad dressing.

Ingredients

2 pounds Clams, live, scrubbed and rinsed well
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Ounces Anchovies in oil
4 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 Cups dry White Wine
8 Ounces Clam Juice
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, minced
8 ounces dry Linguine
Fresh grated Parmesan (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Follow package direction to cook the linguine while preparing the clams. When done boiling linguine, drain and keep warm.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a deep sided sauce or saute pan over medium high heat. Cook until butter is melted and beginning to bubble. Add Anchovies and stir into the butter and olive oil. Mash as you stir, incorporating the anchovies into the butter and oil.
  3. Add minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer.
  4. Add clam juice, white wine and red pepper flakes. Increase heat until liquid boils.
  5. Add clams to boiling liquid. Cover with lid. Cook until clams open fully. Discard any clams that do not open.
  6. Add minced parsley just before serving.
  7. To serve, place linguine in deep bowls or pasta dishes and top with the clams and broth.
  8. Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese if desired.