Cooking with Calley P: Super Bowl lobster

Calley Prezzano is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained Chef who has made a career in fine dining cuisine, emphasizing fresh & local products from the area. In this new blog for The Nicaragua Dispatch, Chef Calley will share a few struggles, triumphs, and recipes that make cooking in Nicaragua an adventure for all five senses. This week: The Super Bowl is a super excuse to cook up some lobster

To be honest, I don’t care who wins the Super Bowl.

Either way, it gives me a great opportunity to share my lobster roll recipe! Being that Phil just predicted six more weeks of winter, it might not exactly be “light and fresh lobster roll” season in your neck of the woods, but I hear it’s been “warm” almost everywhere, right?

This year the championship game teams represent a “Battle Chowder” (New England vs. Manhattan)… but why dive for clams when lobsters taste oh-so-good?

Go Pats! It’s “LOBSTAH” time!

We get amazing fresh lobster here in Nicaragua. From the beach on the Pacific coast from Astillero to San Juan del Sur, you can see buoys that mark traps about 1/2 mile off shore.

The same breed is available in the Caribbean. Neither is too overfished, and both are regulated by size and exported.

On the Caribbean coast, there’s a lobster-ban season to allow re-growth of the population. During this time, both Corn Islands are covered in traps being re-netted, and a lot of reggaeton and empty Toña bottles accompany the crew during the season of rest.

On the Pacific coast, only a certain size can be exported. However, the size is not measured by weight, inches or centimeters, it’s a unit of measurement similar to a “manzana,” in that it exists only in this country, with a made up ruler. Often small lobsters are trapped in nets and either die before they’re pulled up, or escape only to be eaten by hungry, lingering fish nearby. For the most part, the regulations stick.

Enough chit chat: Onto the cooking and eating!

 A few recipe tips:

make your own bread

*Don’t overcook the lobster. The meat here has more of a shrimp consistency, unlike Maine lobster that shreds when poached.

*Make your own bread. It is sooo worth it! It takes about 15 minutes of active prep but the dough needs to rest and bake, so total time working on bread will be about 2 hours.

* I use a hot dog pan for the bread, the dimensions are: 6 x 14 x 2”. I understand that you may not have this luxury: divided into two 1 pound loaf pans should do the trick.

 

The Lobster: About 2 pounds of tail with the shell on

1 1/2 cups chopped cucumber (peeled and seeded)

1/2 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

salad getting ready to mix

5 drops hot sauce, preferably Tabasco

 

  1. Cook the Lobster. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, remove the lobster meat from the shell. Save the shells if you wish, and make a lobster broth later. Yeah, right, I know that they’re going in the trash. Maybe some other time. Drop the lobster meat into the pot and lightly poach, keeping the water just under a boil, for 5-7 minutes. The lobster should be just cooked to about medium-well. Strain and let cool in one layer on a plate (not in a big pile, it will over cook).
  2. While the lobster cools, prepare the dressing. Mix together cucumber, onion, mayonnaise, oil, lime, salt, pepper and hot sauce.
  3. Slice the lobster into thin but large pieces. Toss with dressing and let sit for about 15 minutes, or up to 1 day, before serving.

 

Brioche Buns:

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm milk (about 110°F)

2 Tbsp. white sugar

2 1/2 cups flour, divided

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 stick unsalted butter (8 Tbs.), cut into cubes -“room temperature” – soft but not melted

 

1. In a large bowl, whisk together yeast, milk, sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Let rest for 5 minutes. The mixture should be foamy.

  1. By hand (or using a stand mixer with a dough hook), mix in 1 cup flour and salt and knead until combined.
  2. One by one, mix in eggs, kneading until combined.
  3. Cube by cube, mix in butter until combined.
  4. Mix in remaining 1 cup of flour and knead for 5 minutes longer.
  5. Cover dough with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rest until doubled in size, 25-60 minutes.
  6. Punch down dough. Press dough into a pregreased pan and let rest, covered, for about 15-30 minutes longer.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350° F oven for about 20 minutes, until the sides puff out and begin to slightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely before cutting into sandwich-size portions.

 

For serving:

  1. Pan fry the bread in a bit of butter. Pile on lobster. Serve with a large helping of Yuca Chips. Repeat.

 

Makes about 9-12 sandwiches.

*I took the brioche recipe from somewhere at some point. I don’t recall how much I’ve tweaked it over time, and if it is “mine” or not. Thank you, mystery source!

 

Calley Prezzano was classically trained in San Francisco, California. She has cooked in Michelin Star Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area and was the founding Executive Chef of Jicaro Ecolodge in Granada, Nicaragua. She is currently the Executive Chef of La Finca y El Mar Restaurant in Rancho Santana in Tola, Nicaragua. (www.lafincayelmar.blogspot.com, www.ranchosantana.com, www.probablycooking.blogspot.com)

 

  • John

    Awesome! What a great contribution!

  • Denise

    Sounds delicious! I want a couple- right now! These would be great at Andrew’s Superbowl party. Come home Calley!

  • Rico Ricardo

    Chef Calley,

    Your food and recipes look Fabulous.

  • Rico Ricardo

    This lobsta roll looks better than you can buy in MA.