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.

Pearl and Culinary Institute of America to host benefit for Foodways Texas

Foodways Texas

August 30th, 2011



All Star Chef Line-Up Dinner plus Molly O’Neill to Speak

The Pearl, in partnership with The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, to sponsor benefit for Foodways Texas an all-star evening of chefs including Jason Dady chef and restaurateur of The Lodge; Elizabeth Kossick, Latin Cuisines Specialist for The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio; Tan Nguyen of Central Market, San Antonio; Jesse T. Perez, Burbank graduate and executive chef, consultant for Alamo Cafe; Rebecca Rather restaurateur of Rather Sweet Bakery & Café and author of “The Pastry Queen”; and Andrew Weissman, restaurateur of Il Sogno & Sandbar and CIA grad on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 7 pm to 10 pm.

 “We’re thrilled that Pearl Brewery and The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio are helping to introduce us to San Antonio. Both Pearl and the CIA are in tune with the food cultures of the area, so forming this relationship is ideal for Foodways Texas and we hope it continues well into the future,” said Marvin Bendele, executive director of Foodways Texas. “There is a rich culinary history in the city and surrounding areas and we hope to document that history and emerging food cultures through our oral history program.”

 During the event, Molly O’Neill author of One Big Table; A Portrait of American Cooking, will speak about immigrant foodways, while guests enjoy a meal celebrating a variety of cuisines focused on the San Antonio region. Copies of the book signed by the author will be available for purchase courtesy of The Twig Book shop.

 Keeping with Foodways Texas mission, the dinner highlights Texas products with Texas crafted cocktails, wine and beer with a Master Sommelier pairing Texas wine. Tickets are $150 per person including beverages and dinner. All proceeds to benefit Foodways Texas, which preserves the vibrant foodways of Texas through oral history projects, documentary films, recipe collections, and scholarly research.

 To purchase tickets, go to http://texasfoodwaysatpearl.eventbrite.com/




Foodways Texas is an organization founded by scholars, chefs, journalists, restaurateurs, farmers, ranchers, and other citizens of the state of Texas who have made it their mission to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas. By joining and supporting Foodways Texas, you become part of a movement to preserve the vibrant foodways of Texas through oral history projects, documentary films, recipe collections, and scholarly research. You will join us in highlighting the state’s distinctive foods and food cultures at our annual scholarly symposium, supporting educational food-based seminars, promoting local food networks, and partnering with universities and other non-profit organizations to educate future generations about healthy and sustainable food practices. For more information on Foodways Texas, go to http://foodwaystexas.com/.




Pearl, a former brewery that operated from 1883 until 2001 and a landmark just north of downtown, today is a groundbreaking culinary gathering place where you can eat, live, learn and play on the banks of the San Antonio River.

The 22-acre Pearl site is home to the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio and Aveda Institute San Antonio, the year-round Pearl Farmers Market. Pearl restaurants include Il Sogno Italian Osteria and the Sandbar Fish House and Market, both by CIA graduate and James Beard Award-nominated chef Andrew Weissman, and La Gloria Ice House by CIA graduate chef Johnny Hernandez.  Pearl is also known for the Melissa Guerra Latin American kitchen store, the Twig book shop, Adelante Boutique, Run Wild Sports, The Synergy Studio and Bike World.  The Center for Architecture houses the AIA San Antonio and the Architecture Foundation of San Antonio.  Office tenants at Pearl include the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber, the Nature Conservancy, the CE Group, WestEast Design Group and other creative firms.  Event space includes the Pearl Stable, the Pearl Studio and the newly completed Pearl Park, a community gathering space, which includes amphitheater seating overlooking a stage alongside the San Antonio River Walk.



Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering bachelor’s and associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts, and certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies.  As the world’s premier culinary college, the CIA has a network of more than 40,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Chiarello, Cat Cora, Steve Ells, Todd English, Duff Goldman, Sara Moulton, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi.  The college has campuses in New York (Hyde Park), California (The CIA at Greystone, St. Helena), and Texas (San Antonio), and an international location in Singapore.  In addition to its degree programs, the CIA offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services for the foodservice and hospitality industry.  For more information, visit http://www.ciachef.edu.

Filei Piccanti al Pomodoro

I don’t eat pasta very much these days (I’m trying to cut down on the carbs), so when I do, I want it to count.  This hand-rolled Italian semolina pasta with fiery red chili and homemade roasted tomato sauce with fresh herbs fits the bill quite nicely..

Filei Piccanti al Pomodoro

For the Pomodoro Sauce

8 ripe red tomatoes, cored, roasted and skinned
2/3 cup yellow onion, finely diced
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, slivered
2 tablespoons raw olive oil, plus more if needed
1/4 cup (loosely packed) whole purple basil leaves, dried
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh herbs such as oregano and green basil
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic has “melted” and the onions Oven-roasted tomatoeshave all but disappeared, about 20 minutes.  Drizzle in additional olive oil if needed to keep the vegetables moist while cooking, taking care to prevent browning.

Crush the tomatoes by hand into the pan with the vegetables.  Crumble the purple basil into the tomatoes and stir to combine.  Allow mixture to boil for a moment, then partially cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer, stirring often, until most of the water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. The sauce should be very thick.

Cook the pasta according to package instructions, cutting the time by 2 or 3 minutes.  Stir enough of the boiling pasta water into the tomato sauce to thin it to a spoon-able consistency, then quickly add the pasta and herbs to the pan.  Stir and simmer for the remaining 2-3 minutes until the pasta is finished.

Season the dish with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste, then turn out into individual bowls.  Lightly drizzle with raw olive oil and top with a little sharp cheese, if desired and serve immediately.

This post is part of Meatless Monday, a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns,
in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health

Naan Pizza with Spiced Lamb, Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Goat Cheese

Homemade flatbread, ghee-fried spiced lamb, roasted peppers, onions, heirloom tomatoes and garlic, with fresh goat cheese and Neapolitan parsley..

Naan Pizza with Spiced Lamb, Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Goat Cheese

For the Vegetables

1/2 pound heirloom tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped.
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup assorted fresh peppers (I like to use both hot and sweet peppers), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon cracked coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Toss the vegetables together then lay out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Place the tray in a 500 degree oven until slightly charred.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

For the Lamb

1/2 pound freshly-ground, pastured lamb
2 tablespoons ghee
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon spice blend such as Penzeys Vindaloo, containing a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, brown mustard, red pepper, cardamom, turmeric, black pepper and cloves.  Reserve a tablespoon or two of the butter, spice and lamb juices to spread on the naan.

Gently form the lamb into 1-1/2 inch balls, taking care not to press too tightly.  Sprinkle with the salt and set aside.  Heat the ghee in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking.  Add the spices and whisk to incorporate. Carefully add the lamb to the ghee and shallow fry until nicely seared on the outside but still rare in the middle.  Transfer to a side plate and allow to drain.

For the Naan (adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)

8 ounces organic all-purpose flour (can use sprouted or soaked flour)
6 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted and mashed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
1/3 cup fresh whole milk, hand-hot
1 tablespoon ghee, melted, plus a little extra
1/3 cup plain yoghurt, lightly beaten
1 small pastured egg, lightly beaten

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, yeast and sugar in a bowl and pour in the hand-hot milk, ghee, garlic, yoghurt and the beaten egg and mix it all together to form a ball of dough.  Place the dough on to a clean surface and knead it for 10 minutes or more, until smooth.

Pour about 1/4 tsp ghee into a large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it.  Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven and a heavy baking sheet to 500 degrees.

Punch down the dough and knead it again and divide into 9 equal balls.  While working on 1 ball, keep the remaining balls covered. Flatten the ball using your hands (or rolling pin) into a tear-shaped naan, about 6 inches in length and about 4 inches at its widest. Brush the top with melted ghee.

Remove the hot baking tray from the oven, grease it well with ghee and place the naan on to it.

Put the pan into the oven on the top rack for 2-3 minutes. It should puff up and brown slightly. It will go from browned to burnt quickly, so keep an eye on it.

Once puffed up and browned on one side, flip the naan and place back into the oven until browned, about 1 minute.

To Assemble

Lightly brush the naan with the reserved butter mixture.  Scatter the roasted vegetables around the naan, then position the lamb around and about.  Tuck in a few wedges of fresh goat cheese here and there, then place the naan directly on the center rack of a 500 degree oven and bake until the cheese is soft and the edges of the naan have begun to char.  Remove from oven, dress with torn parsley and a light squeeze of fresh lemon and serve immediately.

Blackened Gulf Grouper with Creole Sauce

Wild-caught grouper from the Gulf of Mexico is dipped in melted butter mixed with herbs and spices (smoked paprika, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, caraway, dill, fresh bay, mace and cardamom), then seared in a white ash-hot cast iron skillet until opaque in the middle and slightly charred on the edges (about 2 minutes per side).  Served over a creole sauce of celery, onions, green peppers, garlic, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil, oregano and thyme..

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“The word ‘grouper’ comes from the word for the fish, most widely believed to be from the Portuguese name, garoupa.  The origin of this name in Portuguese is believed to be from an indigenous South American language.

The grouper’s  mouth and gills form a powerful system that sucks their prey in from a distance.  They also use their mouth to dig into sand to form their shelters under big rocks, jetting it out through their gills.  Their gill muscles are so powerful that it is nearly impossible to pull them out of a cave if they feel attacked and extend those muscles to lock themselves in.

There is some research indicating that roving coral groupers (Plectropomus pessuliferus) sometimes cooperate with giant morays in hunting.” –Wikipedia