Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lobster, Corn, and Watermelon Cocktails - All Local, All Buttered (Except the Cocktail)

Depending on your definition of local, you can get local corn now. Ours came from Pennsylvania, which is pushing it, but better than the alternative of Florida. As you all should know by now, we are not locavores (though appreciate that school of thought), but instead aim to eat food "as locally grown as possible" so when faced with a truly summer-esque day, one where lobster and corn were all but required, we made the choice to consider PA local. Forgive us our geographic foibles and enjoy our recipes!

One place we would be hard pressed to do without is New Deal Fish Market, as we have mentioned many times before. Their fish is amazing, putting Whole Foods to shame. They also get a lot locally, and know where it's from so you can choose what local means to you, and they have a willingness, if not a mission, to educate.

I went in yesterday to pick up the lobster and had a conversation with Karl about the most humane way to kill one. Regardless of one's beliefs on how much crustaceans feel pain, we owe it to our food to give it the best death possible. Keja and I both have memories of our grandfathers cooking lobsters and seeing them moving in the boiling water, and in one case, actually crawling out of the pot. So, to avoid that, Karl recommended using a sharp knife and, with a very quick motion, jabbing it into the back of their head. We were going to grill them (another Karl recommendation), so (and here is where the education part of New Deal comes in), he cleared off the counter and showed me how to butcher lobsters. 

We served our meal with one of Keja's amazingly fresh and local lettuce-thinning salads and made another red wine sauce, this time without raspberries, and served it over ice cream. A lovely summer meal.

Timing wise, if your grill is large enough, cook the corn and lobster at the same time. If not, cook the corn, remove and cook the lobster, and then return the corn to the grill for 5 minutes before eating.

This whole meal stuffed three adults and three kids.

Grilled Lobster with Herb Butter

3 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 lb. lobsters, split lengthwise within an hour or two prior to cooking (they should be kept in the fridge if splitting is not done immediately prior to cooking). Remove claws and see below for instructions to cook those.

Herb butter

Melt 1 stick salted butter in a saucepan

Stir in:
3 TBSP fresh herbs (we used thyme, oregano, parsley, and chive flowers)
1 TBSP minced garlic
1/8 teas. cayenne pepper

Remove from heat.

Smack each claw with a heavy stone or a hammer, to break a crack or two into them. Drizzle with a little herb butter and close up in aluminum foil.

Over a medium hot grill, grill claws for a total of 12 to 20 minutes, depending on claw size and heat of fire. Grill lobster halves, shell side down, on grill until flesh is opaque whitish pink and firm, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. When first putting them on, drizzle with herb butter. Reserve the rest of the butter for dipping lobster into at the table.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Tequila Lime Butter

8 ears corn on the cob, with husk on
6 TBSP butter, very soft
1/2 teas. Keja's Famous Rub (see below)
1 teas. lime juice
1 teas. tequila

Soak corn in water for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix butter and remaining ingredients together.  Butter can be refrigerated once it is mixed together.

Grill corn, remove husk, and serve with butter.

Keja's Famous Rub

4 TBSP paprika
1 TBSP brown sugar 
1 teas. salt 
1 teas. ground allspice 
1 teas. ground coriander
1 teas. ground cayenne 

We have begun making our own cordials, liquers, aperitifs, digestives, etc. We got a great book called Luscious Liquers by A.J. Rathbun. It was recommended by another local gem, The Boston Shaker, In Davis Square, Somerville. If you live in Somerville or the surrounding area, like to drink cocktails, and don't know about this place, go visit!

Anyway, we have tried some of A.J.'s great recipes and, feeling confident, went off on our own. We made a sage mint liquer. It would be excellent chilled, over ice, or as a digestive, or, as we used it, to modify a Martha Stewart Everyday Food Watermelon Margarita recipe from her June 2010 issue. 

Sage Mint Grappa inspired by A.J. Rathbun's recipes (takes 3 weeks to make)

1/2 cup sage leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
1 TBSP lemon juice
3 cups grappa
*1/2 cup simple syrup 

*In our experience, there are as many different simple syrup recipes as there are cocktails. Pick your favorite and go with it.

Muddle leaves with lemon in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Add grappa and stir. Cover and let sit in a cool, dark place for 1 week, swirling occasionally.

Add simple syrup and stir. Let sit another 2 weeks, swirling occasionally.

Here A.J. suggests straining it and decanting into a nice jar with a cork. 

Watermelon Cocktail, based on Martha Stewart's Watermelon Margarita recipe

Make a simple syrup by boiling 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 3 strips orange zest. Boil for 3 minutes and then let cool.

Cube one quarter of a large watermelon and then purée in a blender with the simple syrup until smooth.

Add 1/8 cup lime juice, 1/8 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup of the Mint Sage Grappa. Blend until mixed.

Serve over ice (with salted rims optional).