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Chefs at Home: Butter-Poached Open-Face Lobster BLT’s

  • Chef Peter Agostinelli
  • 5 min read

 

By Chef Peter Agostinelli of Grill 23 & Bar in Boston

This is a perfect brunch dish. It's light and has great flavors. By butter poaching the raw lobster meat, it stays incredibly tender. I make the English muffins fresh, so I included that recipe also. If you make them that day, don’t bother to toast them because they are so light and airy. If you make them ahead of time, or if you prefer to use store bought muffins, that’s ok too, but you’ll want to toast them before you build your BLT’s.

There are a lot of steps to the recipe, but they can be done ahead of time so all that you have to do on the day is to poach your lobster and assemble. Plus, the tiny tomato jam and roasted garlic aioli are great to have on hand for other applications. I always keep some of each in my refrigerator.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the English muffins:

(Makes 16 muffins; adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk

3 tablespoons softened butter

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste

2 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

4 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour

2 teaspoons instant yeast

semolina or cornmeal

 

For the roasted garlic aioli:

1 small bulb of garlic

1 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed

1 egg yolk

Juice of 1/2 a lemon, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

For the tiny tomato jam:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound grape, cherry or pear tomatoes cut in half

4 tablespoons granulated white sugar

½  cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pinch chili flakes

For the lobster:

1 pound raw claw and knuckle lobster meat

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

Zest of one lemon

 

For the sandwiches:

8 slices bacon, cut in half for 16 pieces

4 English muffins

½ cup roasted garlic aioli

2 cups baby spinach

Juice of 1 lemon

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed

1 cup tiny tomato jam

Kosher salt, to taste    

 

Instructions:

For the English muffins:

Combine all of the ingredients (except the semolina or cornmeal) in a mixing bowl, or the bucket of your bread machine.

This is a very soft dough, so you'll need to treat it a bit differently than most yeast doughs. If you have a stand mixer, beat the dough using the flat beater paddle until it starts coming away from the sides of the bowl, and is satin-smooth and shiny; this will take about 5 minutes at medium-high speed. When you lift up the beater, the dough will be very stretchy. If you have a bread machine, simply use the dough cycle.

Scrape the dough into a rough ball, and cover the bowl. Let the dough rise until it's nice and puffy; this will take 1 to 2 hours or so.

Prepare your griddle(s). Using two griddles allows you to cook all the muffins at once; but since you probably don't have two griddles, you'll need to cook the muffins in shifts. Whatever you use — an electric griddle, stovetop griddle, frying pan, electric frying pan — sprinkle it heavily with semolina or cornmeal. If you're using a griddle or frying pan that's not well-seasoned (or non-stick), spray it with non-stick vegetable oil spray first, before adding the semolina or cornmeal.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls until they're about 3" to 3 1/2" in diameter.

The easiest way to handle and cook these muffins is to lay them right onto the cold surface you'll be frying them on. That way, you don't have to move them once they're risen; and they won't mind cooking very slowly as you fire the griddle up to its desired heat. If you don't have enough griddle space to do this, sprinkle a baking sheet heavily with semolina or farina, and place the muffins on the sheet; they can be fairly close together. Either way, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional semolina or cornmeal.

Cover the muffins (a piece of parchment works well), and let them rest for 20 minutes. They won't rise like crazy, but will puff a bit.

Cook the muffins over low heat for 7 to 15 minutes per side, until their crust is golden brown, and their interior is cooked through. When done, the center of a muffin should register about 200°F on an instant-read thermometer. If you find the muffins have browned before they're cooked all the way through, no worries; simply pop them into a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes or so, or until they're thoroughly cooked.

Remove the muffins from the griddle (or oven), and let them cool thoroughly before enjoying. Remember: use a fork to split, not a knife to cut. Fork-split muffins will have wonderful nooks and crannies; knife-cut ones won't.

For the roasted garlic aioli:

Slice the tip off a bulb of garlic, exposing the cloves. Drizzle with a little oil, wrap in foil and pop in the oven at 350f for 45mins or until golden and completely soft throughout.

Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the garlic into a bowl with a good pinch of salt and mash with a fork. Let cool.

Add your egg yolk and a gentle squeeze of lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.

Grab a towel and fold into a circle. Place the bowl on top - this will stabilize the bowl and allow you whisk/pour at the same time.Drip by drip, begin pouring in your oil, ensuring you continually whisk. It's essential you start with tiny amounts to keep it from splitting.

Gradually increase to a gentle stream and keep whisking until your desired texture. Add mustard and check for seasoning. Store in the fridge or eat right away.

For the tiny tomato jam:

Place a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Add tomatoes and sugar and cook until sugar melts and starts to get a slight brown color. Add both vinegars and olive oil and simmer mixture until its thick and shiny, season with salt and pepper and chill.

For the lobster:

Slowly melt the butter and lemon zest In a sauce pan over medium low heat. Once the butter and lemon zest mixture starts to slowly bubble, add the lobster meat and let cook for 5 minutes. The meat will get firm and turn white and red. At this point shut off the heat and leave the lobster in the butter to stay warm while you build the BLT’s.

For the sandwiches

Cook the bacon and drain on a paper towel-lined tray.

Split the English muffins in half with a fork so that you preserve all of those beautiful nooks and crannies. If you are using store bought or day old muffins, you’ll want to toast them lightly at this point.

Spread 1 tablespoon of garlic aioli on each muffin.

Toss your spinach with some lemon juice, salt and a little bit of olive oil and place the dressed spinach on top of each muffin.

Place 2 pieces of bacon on top of the spinach.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the lobster meat out of the butter and place on top of the bacon.

Finally put a dollop of tiny tomato jam on top of the lobster.

Recipes and photos by Peter Agostinelli, Executive Chef of Grill 23 & Barin Boston

On Instagram, follow Chef Peter and Grill 23 & Bar

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