Crispy Lobster Skewers With Green Papaya And Mint Salad
- GREEN PAPAYA AND MINT SALAD:
- 1 small coconut
- 6 lobster culls - (1 lb ea)
- 2 tablespoons oil plus
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots diced
- 1 small fresh chile seeded, diced
- 2 lemongrass stalks sliced thinly
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger - (heaping)
- 1 tablespoon Thai yellow or red curry paste (or 1 tbspn Madras curry powder)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 limes - (to 3) juiced, plus
- Zest of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 scallions cut 2" pieces
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1/2 cup water chestnut flour
- Peanut or corn oil for frying
- 6 wooden skewers - (10" long) soaked 30 minutes
- 2 green papayas, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch wild mint chopped
- 3 bunches Upland cress (or 2 bunches watercress)
- 1 daikon julienned
- 1 carrot julienned
- 1 small cucumber sliced thinly
- 12 scallions cut thin rounds
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Nam Pla (Vietnamese fish sauce)
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons oil of your choice
Put coconut into a plastic bag and drop the bag onto a hard surface to split the coconut and catch the liquid. Remove the outer shell and discard. Finely grate 1 cup of fresh coconut. Thinly shave the remaining coconut into moon shaped pieces. Toast shavings lightly and set aside for garnish.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop live lobsters into a pot of boiling water and cook for only 5 minutes. Remove the lobsters from the water and plunge them into a large bowl or pot filled with iced water to stop the cooking. The lobsters should be cooked early in the day so the lobsters have time to reabsorb their wonderful juices.
In a 2-quart saucepan, add the oil and butter. Remove the claws and tails from all the lobsters. Set aside. Remove the outer shell from 3 of the lobsters. Saute the 6 lobster bodies over medium-high heat until a little bit colored. Leaving some of the shells on will give your sauce a pink cast.
Add the shallots, chile, and lemongrass. Cook gently until tender. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add grated coconut and ginger. Add enough cold water to barely cover the lobster bodies. Add curry paste or curry powder. Let sauce simmer slowly for 20 to 30 minutes until reduced, showing a little "body".
Add heavy cream and let sauce reduce slightly. Add lime juice and lime zest. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Finish with 2 tablespoons of butter for silkiness.
Strain sauce. Take approximately 1/2 of the solids and puree in blender with some liquid. Add pureed solids back to sauce. Set aside.
Remove claw meat from their shells. Split the tail, removing all the shell carefully from the tail, except the last segmet of shell connected to the actual tail flippers.
Skewer the 2 segments of the tail with 1 claw and 1 piece of scallion in between. You will have 6 skewers.
Beat the egg whites with the 2 tablespoons of cold water to thin out. Dip each skewer lightly into the egg white mixture. Very delicately, sprinkle water chestnut flour all over the lobster. Dont pack on too much.
Bring a large pot of peanut oil to 350 degrees. Fry 2 skewers at a time. They will only take approximately 2 to 3 minutes to crisp. Remove skewers from the oil and drain. Place in barely warm oven while the other skewers cook.
To serve, place finished skewers on plate with your delicate salad leaning against the lobster. Spoon the curried coconut sauce around the plate and garnish with toasted coconut "moons".
Green Papaya and Mint Salad: In a large bowl, assemble the salad, combining the green papayas, the mint, the Upland or watercress, daikon, carrot, cucumber, and scallions rounds. Dress salad with vinaigrette right before serving. (Makes 6 servings)
Vinaigrette: Whisk together rice wine vinegar, Nam Pla, ginger and oil. Set aside. (Makes approximately 1/2 cup)
This recipe yields 6 servings.
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