June 6, 2012

The Maine Ingredient: Good news for shellfish junkies: 'Lobster!'

By Brooke Dojny

(Continued from page 1)

Brooke Dojny's "Lobster!" is in bookstores now.

Courtesy photo

Note: You can also use 1 pound chopped picked-out lobster meat and 5 cups seafood broth, or clam juice or a combination of clam juice and water. Seafood broth or stock can often be found in supermarkets with the chicken and beef broth. Bottled clam juice is shelved with the canned seafood. If the clam juice is salty, dilute half and half with water.

FOCACCIA GARLIC TOASTS

Round focaccia loaves, which are usually topped with a sprinkling of salt and rosemary, are split and slathered with garlic butter to create fabulous garlic bread. The focaccia toasts up into buttery crunchy golden deliciousness.

Servings: About four

¼ pound (1 stick) butter, softened

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (see note)

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 loaf focaccia

Stir together butter, garlic and cayenne in a small bowl. Cover and set aside for at least an hour to blend flavors. (Can be made up to a week ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Using a large serrated knife, cut focaccia in half horizontally. Spread the cut sides with the garlic butter and arrange buttered sides up on a baking sheet. (Can be prepared up to several hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Bake bread in the preheated oven until lightly browned and toasted, about 10 minutes. Cut into wedges, arrange in a napkin-lined basket and serve.

Note: To tame the garlic a bit, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small skillet and cook the garlic over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Stir cooked garlic into the softened butter and proceed with the recipe. Any leftover garlic butter is delicious on steamed vegetables or fish.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE WITH RICH EGG BISCUIT

I know I've run this recipe before, but it happens to be just the right dessert for this meal at this time of year. This "short" (meaning very buttery) egg biscuit is baked in one large cake for an impressive presentation – and any leftovers are delicious for breakfast!

Servings: About eight

 

STRAWBERRY FILLING:

2 quarts ripe strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

 

EGG BISCUIT AND TOPPING:

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in about 12 pieces

½ cup milk

1 egg

 1½ cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Choose 8 pretty berries and set them aside. Hull the rest. Place half the berries in a large shallow bowl and crush with a large fork or a potato masher. Slice remaining berries and combine with the crushed berries. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice, and set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to flow. (Strawberries can be prepared up to 6 hours ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before serving.)

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to blend. Distribute cold butter over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly. Pour milk into a glass measure and whisk in the egg. With motor running, pour milk mixture through the feed tube and process just until the dough begins to clump together.

(To make by hand, whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl, work in the cold butter with your fingertips, add the milk and egg, and stir with a large fork to make a soft dough.)

Scrape out onto a lightly floured surface, knead lightly a few times and roll to an 8-inch round. Transfer to a generously buttered 8-inch cake pan. (The dough can be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 hours.)

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