Butter-Poached Lobster on a Salt-Crusted Bolillo

Imagine the iconic New England lobster roll on a late summer evening.  Delicious, right?  Now re-imagine that as a Texican creation with homemade Key lime-ancho mayonnaise, fresh avocado and heirloom tomatoes served on a top-split, oven-toasted bolillo..

Butter-Poached Lobster on a Salt-Crusted Bolillo

For the Aioli (adapted from multiple recipes by Michael Ruhlman)

1 large, pastured egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon filtered water
2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup avocado oil
2 teaspooons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Key lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh red chili pepper, seeded and chopped
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Whisk the yolk, salt and lemon juice together in a large, non-reactive bowl.  While whisking, drizzle in a few drops of oil, then a few more to establish the emulsion.  Whisking continuously, add the remaining oil in a thin stream.  The mixture should be thick enough to cling to your whisk (i.e., not pourable).

Whisk in the remaining ingredients (except the salt & pepper), then season to taste with the salt and pepper.  Cover tightly and refrigerate 1 hour before using.  If the avocado oil has begun to solidify, simple allow the mayonnaise to come to room temperature and give it a quick whisk.

To Prepare the Lobster

1/2 pound Canadian or Maine lobster knuckle and claw meat
6 oz pastured butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 fresh bay leaves

Put the wine and bay leaves into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a quick boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until the wine has reduced in volume by half.  Add the butter and cook until you hear the milk solids begin to sizzle on the bottom of the pan.  Skim and discard the foam from the top, then regulate the heat until bubbles are barely breaking the surface.

Add the lobster and poach until just done, maybe 10 minutes.  Don’t let the butter boil and don’t let the lobster cook too long or it will be rubbery.  Transfer the lobster to a side dish to cool, reserving the butter for another recipe.

To make the Lobster Salad

1/2 pound poached lobster meat, coarsley chopped
1/4 cup key lime-ancho mayonnaise (more or less)
1/2 cup ripe, red heirloom tomato, coarsley chopped
1/2 cup fresh avocado, coarsley chopped

Lightly fold all ingredients together in a bowl, taking care not to let things get mashed up.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Bolillos

Use a bread knife to split fresh bolillos from the top, taking care not to cut all the way through.  Brush the split bolillos all over with lots of the leftover lobster poaching butter, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Place in a 400 degree oven until nicely toasted, then remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.

To Serve

Mound the still warm, split bolillos with the chilled lobster salad.  Dress with a squeeze of lime and garnish with a grind of chili and a little fresh cilantro and serve immediately.

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