Sunday, August 1, 2010
I wanted to make seafood risotto for our friends gathered together in Cape Cod last week. Of course, the cornerstone to good risotto is great stock, but as I entered the simple, village fish market I was still questioning how I would come up with a really good seafood stock.
Then I laid my eyes on a stainless steel container stacked with lobster bodies. Stripped clean of the tails and claws (to be used in lobster salad) the bodies were worthless to the fish market, but priceless to my risotto stock. When the counter girl told me that the bodies were free, I took the lot and, elated, practically skipped out of the small shop.
Simply simmering the bodies in water for 30 minutes, then seasoning with salt, a stock was born. I snuggled fresh mussels, local scallops and littleneck clams into the rice, lavished the lobster stock in, and the dish turned out pretty good. Bonus: I had 5 cups stock left-over.
The next day on the beach, my friend Laura (mama to many daughters, too) told me stories about the 16 pound lobster (16 pounds!) she, her grown daughters and their significant others shared the night before. So much lobster that they couldn't finish it and were going to make a lobster risotto that night.
'You need a good lobster stock,' I said.
'Yeah, that would make it better, wouldn't it...' Laura trailed off (still thinking of her previous night's lobsterfest).
'I've got some and it is yours,' I said.
Laura fiend reluctance, but quickly accepted my offer.
The next day, Laura shared with me wonderful stories of her lobster risotto dinner, and happy Cape Cod memories made with her daughters. She also shared with me a small bag filled with truffle salt.
'Have you ever tried truffle salt?' She asked.
I hadn't, and was tentative because of my previous, disappointing run-in with truffle. But that was nearly twenty years ago. I opened the bag and inhaled. The fragrance of the salt was sublime. I knew that I would use that salt the same night.
And so, what began with 12 free lobster bodies, became stock for two dinners, and shared truffle salt for a third. I remember Sesame Street's, Elmo chirping that, 'It's nice to share' and it is indeed, especially when it is lobster and truffles.
Lobster Stuffed Flounder with Truffle Salt
If you can't get ahold of lobster, use good quality crab meat-- it will be equally delicious. If it is at all possible to get truffle salt, grab it-- it is worth the money! If not, sea salt will be yummy, too.
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large Vidalia onion, minced
1 ear of corn, kernels cut from the cob
1/2 pound cooked lobster meat, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (or homemade)
1 egg, beaten
8 flounder filets
1/2 cup dry white wine
1) Melt the butter in a non-stick saute pan, over medium high heat. Once the butter is frothy, add in the onion and saute for 2 minutes, then add in the corn kernels and continue to saute for several minutes longer, until the corn is cooked and the onion is translucent. Add in the lobster meat and season with truffle salt-- begin with a light hand, you can always add more.
2) Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then add in the bread crumbs and beaten egg. Now turn on the oven to 400F (200C). Place the stuffing into the refrigerator and allow to chill for 15 minutes.
3) Grease a baking dish. Lay the flounder filets, attractive side down (and there IS an attractive side) and season with truffle salt. Lay 1/8th of the stuffing in the middle of each filet, then roll them up and place them, seam side down, into the baking dish. Pour the wine into the dish and bake, covered in the hot oven for about 30 minutes, depending on your oven. The fish should separate easily when cut with a fork.