Drin and I are big fans of lobster, not big fans of the price of lobster. How sad is it that a mere 20% of a lobster’s weight, as purchased, is actually meat. Seriously, I feel so ripped off. Speaking of ripped off – yesterday we boiled and ripped the meat from the carcasses of 6 lobsters to make lobster roll appetizers for a party we’re hosting at SoJo’s tomorrow. There is no way we could feed lobster rolls to everyone, especially if they were what Drin and I would typically consider adequate in size (1 lb of meat on a buttery soft roll, split on top, easy, easy, easy on the mayo please), we’d have to sell the farm to finance the venture – I digress…
So, Drin picked up and murdered the lobsters, and I tore ’em limb from limb. Several were pregnant (pregnant? – yeah), and let me tell you, THAT mess is not pretty or fun. I won’t go into graphic detail, because, well, this is a food blog and that won’t do anyone any good, but trust me, them bitches were knocked up. Anyway, I knew this task would be ahead of me as I packed up and readied myself to leave the daily grind yesterday. I spoke with Oakley for a few minutes about lobster and shared with her that I fear I may be allergic to “lobster juice”. Yes, I said lobster juice. The liquid that is caught between the shell and the meat after boiling, lobster juice. When you crack one of them babies open, and that fishy nectar runs down your arm, well, you may as well pore hydrochloric acid on me. I swear to you, it eats the top 2 or 3 layers of my skin if I don’t wash that shit off quick, fast, and in a hurry. Funny enough, I’m not allergic to the meat, no, not at all. Trust me on this, too. Trust my cholesterol around both Memorial and Labor day each year; Not Allergic.
When I got home I started right away making little brioche style buns to serve as “rolls”. A recipe I picked up from The New York Times, for hamburger buns to die for, only I doubled the recipe and halved, halved, halved, and halved the dough again until I ended up with 64 single ounce dough balls perfect for nesting a heaping tablespoon or so of lobster salad on.
While the dough went through its first rise, Drin & I got to dissecting the crustaceans, I chopped the meat finely, 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice (not an easy or neat-and-tidy task I advise), and added the few ingredients, in very conservative quantity. I fought, fought, fought not to do the ole one for the bowl, one for SoJo, one for the bowl, one for SoJo and Tuckerman routine that no so seldom occurs around here. Salad, done. Now to form the dough balls and wait for a second rise.Once all was said and done, I ended up with about 6 cups of lobster salad and 64 light brioche buns reminiscent of cream puffs, all ready for Saturday (except I ate one last night and another today – shut up).
Light Brioche Buns
adapted from The New York Times
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
Combine warm water, the milk, sugar and yeast.
Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes (this is proofing).
Beat 1 egg.
In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt.
Add butter and rub in between your fingers, making crumbs.
Stir in the yeast mixture and the beaten egg until dough forms.
Scrape dough onto lightly floured surface and knead the dough, scooping the dough up and slapping it on the counter and turning it until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap then with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into 32, 1 ounce parts and gently roll into balls.
Arrange on the parchment lined sheet 1 to 2 inches apart.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, another 1 to 2 hours.
Set a large shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with cooking rack at the center position.
Beat remaining egg with of the tablespoon of water and brush on top of buns.
Bake until tops are golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer to rack to coll completely.
These are so yummy, buttery, soft, plushy, and like nothing you can buy in a bag at the Bodega.
Worth the effort, for sure.
inspired by The Pearl Oyster Bar in Maine
2 pounds cooked lobster meat, chopped into a small dice
1 celery rib, diced finely
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use Cain’s)
Squeeze or two or fresh lemon juice (to taste)
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Snipped fresh chives
In a large bowl combine all ingredients, adjusting seasonings to taste.
You can make this salad and store for up to 2 days in the refrigerator until ready to serve.