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..
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.
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.
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.
Whole, pastured pork tenderloin from Richardson Farms is rubbed in a mixture of cumin, garlic, oregano, paprika, sea salt and black pepper, then tightly wrapped and chilled overnight before being sliced into thick fillets. Grilled over a wood fire then served on rounds of fried polenta with roasted peppers and a gastrique of prickly pear cactus with charred onions and ancho chiles..
For the Pork (adjust spices to suit your own taste)
1 whole pork tenderloin, trimmed, about 1 pound
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon granulated organic garlic
1 teaspoon granulated organic onion
2 teaspoon2 Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry comal over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool, then combine all spices together in a spice grinder and process into a slightly coarse powder.
Pat the tenderloin completely dry, then roll in the spice mixture until all surfaces are evenly coated. Wrap the tenderloin tightly and refrigerate overnight.
For the Gastrique
juice of 3 fresh cactus fruits
1 ancho chile, stemmed, seeded, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, charred and slivered
3 tablespoons raw cider vinegar
1/4 cup sustainable, organic palm sugar
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Harvest a few small prickly pear cactus fruits, then roll them around on the ground to knock off the glochids (clusters of small, sharp spines). Rinse the fruit clean, chop coarsely then place in an inch or so of simmering water for ten minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then mash the fruit with a potato masher.
Line a sieve with a clean kitchen towel and set over a bowl. Pour in the cooked fruit and water and allow to drain through. Discard the pulp and pour the liquid into a heavy pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and cook until reduced in volume by about a third. Set aside.
Combine water and sugar in a heavy saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly until caramelized. Reduce heat to a simmer and whisk in the vinegar to form a sauce of pourable consistency. Reduce again until thick, then whisk in the cactus fruit juice. Allow to reduce one last time, then add charred onion and chopped ancho. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.
Slice pork tenderloin horizontally into 4 4-ounce fillets. Grill fillets over a wood fire until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees (about 4 minutes per side) then transfer to a plate to rest for a full 5 minutes (roast some stemmed and split grilling peppers while you’re waiting).
Arrange fried polenta on a serving plate, placing a grilled fillet on top of each disc. Garnish with sliced grilled peppers and spoon gastrique over the top. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
Farm-fresh chicken pieces are marinated overnight in a mixture of ancho chiles, garlic, cumin, cloves and Mexican oregano, then slow-roasted, cooled and torn into chunks. The pan juices are reduced with chopped fresh tomatoes until thick, then spread over a rustic cornmeal crust and topped with the chicken, yellow onions, fresh green chiles and queso anejo..
For the Chicken and Sauce (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)
2-3 joints of chicken
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon piloncillo
3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn
2 tablespoons raw cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1-2 fresh Anaheim chiles, sliced
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When hot, toast the chiles for a few seconds per side, then transfer to a bowl. Don’t let the chiles burn or they will be very bitter. Add 1 cup hot water to the bowl, cover and let stand 20 minutes to rehydrate the chiles.
Place the garlic, oregano, pepper, cumin, cloves, paprika, piloncillo, salt and vinegar into a food processor along with the chiles and and its soaking water. Process into a smooth, thin sauce.
Place the chicken in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once.
Drain the chicken, reserving 1/4 cup of marinade. Roast in a heavy skillet in a 300 degree oven until just done, then set aside to cool, taking care to collect the juices.
Pour the reserved marinade and collected juices into a clean pan set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and cook until disintegrated, about 10 minutes. Add onions and Anaheim chiles, reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning and set aside to cool.
For the Crust [makes 2 7-inch crusts] (adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/3 cups warm water
3/4 cups sprouted wheat flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup organic, stone-ground cornmeal, plus more for skillet
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved and mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the yeast mixture and oil. Slowly stir ingredients with a wooden spoon just until dough starts to come together. Turn out dough on a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes.
Divide dough into two balls. Place balls in a shallow oiled bowl, turning to coat with oil; cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Stretch dough into 7-inch rounds. Sprinkle cornmeal on a skillet, pizza peel or inverted baking sheet. Place dough rounds on top, and cook in a 400 degree oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the Pizza
1 cornmeal crust
1 cup roasted chicken, torn into chunks
1/2 cup thickened adobado with peppers and onions
1/4 cup Anejo cheese, shredded
Toss the chicken and adobado together, then spread over the top of the cornmeal crust. Top with cheese and bake at 500 degrees until crisp and bubbly, about 8 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro, cut into wedges and serve immediately.
Duck breast pan-seared in ancho and garlic-infused rendered duck fat and served with crispy duck skin, classic mole rojo and crunchy tomatillo-avocado salsa..
For the Ancho-Infused Duck Fat
1/3 cup rendered duck fat
1 large ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and torn
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 teaspoon organic annatto seeds
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Melt duck fat in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add ancho, garlic, annatto and oregano and cook just until it begins to sizzle a little. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow to steep 1 hour before straining into a clean container. Store refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
For the Crunchy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa (recipe by Rick Bayless)
8 ounces (about 4 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/2 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped cilantro
Hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 small serranos or 1 small jalapeño), stemmed and roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin
1 small white onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Roughly chop half of the tomatillos and scoop them into a food processor with the cilantro and green chiles. Measure in 1/4 cup water and process to a slushy, coarse puree. Roughly chop half the avocado, add it to the processor and pulse until it is incorporated into the salsa. Scrape into a serving dish. Scoop the onion into a small strainer and rinse under cold water. Add to the salsa. Finely chop the remaining tomatillos and add them, too. Finally, chop the remaining avocado into 1/4-inch pieces and stir them into the salsa. Taste and season with salt, usually about 3/4 teaspoon.
For the Mole Rojo
Made right, classic mole is a rather elaborate and time-consuming affair. If you haven’t made it before, I would suggest studying Rick Bayless’ recipe for Mole Rojo Classico. In a pinch, you can use store-bought El Conquistador Teloloapan Red Mole.
For the Cracklings
1/4 cup duck skin with fat, julienned
1 teaspoon Ancho-Infused Duck Fat
1/2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
coarse sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
Heat duck fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the julienned duck skin and sauté, stirring continuously, until dark golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a napkin to drain and toss with cilantro, salt and pepper while still hot.
For the Duck
Use a sharp, thin knife to score a cross-hatch pattern into the fat side of the duck breast, taking care not to cut into the muscle. Season on all sides with salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg, then lay bay leaves against the flesh, loosely wrap in butcher’s paper and refrigerate overnight (Thomas Keller).
Allow to duck breast to sit on the counter for 20 minutes while you pre-heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the duck breast skin-side down to the hot pan, then reduce heat to medium low and cook, moving often, until the skin is golden brown and much of the fat has been rendered out.
Flip the breast over and sauté for 1 minute, then pour off the fat and place the pan in a 375 degree oven and cook until until rare, about 8 minutes. Transfer the duck to a cutting board and allow to rest at least 15 minutes.
Heat ancho-infused duck fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add inch-thick slices of rare duck breast and quickly sear on all sides until medium rare.
To serve, spoon mole into the center of a dinner plate. Position duck on top of the mole standing upright, dress with tomatillo-avocado salsa and garnish with cracklings.
Here’s an easy and inexpensive way to use up a bit of leftover ham..
1 cup filtered water
3 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 2 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and allow to steep 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
Combine 2 parts homemade ketchup with 1 part ancho puree, more-or-less to taste. Refrigerate up to 1 month.
For the Hash
1 tablespoon butter
2 slices ham, cut into 1/4 inch dice
2 small red potatoes, cut into 1/4 dice
1/2 small Spanish onion, diced
1/4 cup poblano pepper, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
Boil the potatoes in lightly-salted water until not quite tender. Drain, and shake the pan until that the potatoes take on a slightly “fuzzed” texture.
Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and fry until lightly browned. Add potatoes, peppers, ham and garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until browned and slightly crusty. Mix garlic salt and spices together in a small dish and use this mixture to season the hash to taste. Add scallions and parsley and stir to combine.
To serve, spoon hash onto a serving plate and top with a fried egg. Dress with ancho ketchup and serve hot.
This post is part of the Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday!
Grass-fed sirloin is dry-rubbed with freshly-ground ancho chiles, roasted paprika, cumin, smoked pepper and sea salt and then pan-grilled and served with a raw avocado oil-based pesto containing cilantro, garlic, bits of dried papaya, macadamia nuts and chipotle powder..
For the Dry Rub
2 ancho (dried poblano) chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon roasted paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon rapadura
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked black pepper
Place all ingredients into a coffee or spice grinder and pulse into a fine powder. Place in an airtight container and store away from heat and light for up to 3 months.
For the Pesto
1/3 cup raw avocado oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1 tablespoon unsweetened dried papaya
1 1/2 tablespoons macadamia, pistachio or hazlenuts
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
salt and pepper
Place all ingredients except oil into the cup of a food processor and pulse a couple of times until coarsely chopped. Stir in oil then adjust flavor with salt and pepper.
Rinse and pat dry 1 or more 1 inch-thick sirloin steaks. Coat all sides with spice rub, then wrap loosely in butcher paper and refrigerate 3 or more hours.
Allow steaks to sit on the counter 30 minutes, then grill 3 minutes per side in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Transfer skillet to a 400 degree oven and cook until medium-rare, about 10 minutes.