Thursday, April 17, 2014
Charles "Chaz" Doherty IV uses "thick and meaty" Hokkien Stir Fry Noodles for this dish, which can be found in your local grocery store. He experimented with a lot of other noodles, and notes that pad Thai noodles, egg noodles and soba noodles won't work in this recipe.
Morgan is a hard cheese made by Lakin's Gorges cheeses in Rockport. Locally, it's sold at Aurora Provisions, Black Tie Market, K. Horton Specialty Foods and Rosemont Market. But if you can't find it or they are sold out, Doherty says a Parmigiano-Reggiano that's on the milder side will work just as well.
"It can't be something too overpowering, or the lemon grass won't come out," he said.
THAI MY LOBSTER
From Charles "Chaz" Doherty IV, chef at Trackside Station, Rockland
Serves 4 to 6
Two or more 1½ pound lobsters
Hokkien Stir Fry Noodles
Scallions, bias cut
For the bechamel sauce:
4 cans (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
1 ounce fresh ginger, shaved on a microplane
2 sprigs lemon grass
8 sprigs lemon thyme
2 to 3 tablespoons red curry paste
4 ounces butter
3 ounces rice flour
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces Morgan (from Lakin's Gorges Cheese in Rockport)
For the pickled vegetables:
8 ounces daikon
1 red bell pepper
Cilantro to taste
1 quart rice wine vinegar
1 quart water
1½ cup sugar
¾ cup salt
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
Heat a pan and add the butter.
Add the red curry paste and toast until it doesn't burn your nostrils. Add rice flour and make a roux. Add the coconut milk.
Smash the lemon grass with the back of your blade to release essential oils. Add the lemon thyme, the lemon grass and shaved ginger to the coconut milk. Let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the pickled vegetables (these are best made a day ahead and chilled). Grab a pot and zest, roll and squeeze the lemons into it. Then add everything except the red pepper, daikon and cilantro and bring to a boil.
Skin and julienne the red pepper and daikon. (Be sure to remove the pith from inside the red pepper.) Place the red pepper and daikon inside a container and pour the boiling liquid over them (straining the liquid is optional).
Strain the bechamel, then add the cheese to the sauce.
Take 10 ounces of sauce, as much lobster as you want, and 6 ounces pasta and heat it all up.
Toss the pickled vegetables with cilantro. (Don't be afraid to use some of the juice like a vinaigrette in a salad.) Mix the scallions in with the pasta mixture right before serving.
Plate the mac and cheese, and top with the pickled veggies. Finish with a drizzle of fish sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. Add a smear of sriracha to the plate to give the dish some heat.
Deanna Zoe Smith originally made this lobster mac and cheese about four years ago for her son-in-law and her granddaughter. The lemon zest in the crumb topping adds just enough tartness without overwhelming the flavor of the lobster. Smith prefers the sweet meat of soft-shell lobsters, and she uses plenty of it. For the Lobsterpalooza contest, she added a lemon and parsley garnish.
"I cook pretty simply," she said. "I don't come up with all the fancy presentations. I just like to cook, and I think the food should stand on its own. It's lobster mac and cheese, so OK, that's what I made."
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