French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part I)

RECIPE: Lobster Salad Sandwiches
Lobster Salad

Lobster Salad. Made for summer, inspired by Spring.

It’s Labor Day! And I think this week’s French in a Flash is the perfect Franco-American extravagance: lobster rolls inspired by the Parisian restaurant Spring, served with summer staples zucchini frites with basil fleur de sel and heirloom tomato salad.

Lobster Sandwich Spring

The original lobster sandwich from Spring

For me, Labor Day is about picnics, and that means sandwiches. When I was at the Cordon Bleu this summer, I hardly ate a thing. I was on my feet nine or ten hours a day, in the kitchen six days a week. Just looking at the food filled me up, and I was never hungry. It’s such a terrible shame, I thought, that I’m in Paris, and I’m not eating a thing.


Zucchini Frites

Zucchini Frites, with Basil Fleur de Sel

We had one Saturday off, and my best friend looked me square in the eye. “Kerry,” she said, “we’re going out and we’re eating.” She’d heard of a place called Spring across town where every Saturday they served nothing but lobster sandwiches with goose fat fries.

The next noon found us sitting at a wooden table in the tiny storefront of Spring, delicately savoring every bite of our lobster sandwiches. The lobster was served in whole chunks, tossed in a light sauce of mayonnaise and fresh orange zest and juice, in a white-wheat baguette. Celery and chives sprinkled in a touch of verdant freshness. And on the side, crisp, hand cut potatoes fried in goose fat, sprinkled with salt and the confetti zests of lime and orange. It was the best sandwich I ever ate.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad, with South of France Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

So last week, when I saw Florida spiny lobster on sale for $9.99, I had the supermarket steam one up for me (a nice change after my bloody execution of thirty-odd crabs in cooking school), and I came home and tried to recreate the Spring sandwich for summer. I added my own take on it, but it’s still si bon. And I like to serve it with the best zucchini and basil and tomatoes summer has on offer before its officially fall.

You work hard for your lobster; this Labor Day, take a day, like we did in Paris, to stop and enjoy it. For the full recipe and story from my column French in a Flash on Serious Eats, click here. Bon app!

Spiny Lobster

"Eat me!"

Citrus and Herbs

"With these!"

Lobster Salad Sandwiches
2 to 4
Lobster SaladIngredients
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon total of lemon, lime, and orange zests
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced celery
  • 7 ounces lobster meat, cut into very large chunks (about 1 cup total, or the meat from the tail of a 2-pound spiny lobster), steamed and cold
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 wheat baguette
  • Butter, room temperature

Procedure

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the citrus juices—which must all be freshly squeezed—the citrus zests, the mayonnaise, chives, and celery. Taste the dressing and season accordingly with salt and pepper, not forgetting that the lobster is slightly salty itself.
  3. Take your steamed lobster tail and cut it into large chunks, about four to six pieces for the whole tail. Leave the claws whole. Gently fold the lobster meat together with the dressing, and set it in the refrigerator.
  4. Cut the wheat baguette in half horizontally almost all the way through to create a hinged sandwich roll. Very lightly butter both sides with soft sweet cream butter. Stick it under the broiler for just a couple of minutes, until it is just lightly golden and a little bit crusty. Most importantly, allow the bread to cool.
  5. When the baguette is back to room temperature, take the lobster salad out of the fridge, and scoop it, brimming, into the bread. Serve it with zucchini frites and an heirloom tomato salad.
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Categories: 15 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Easy, Eat, Fish, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Sandwiches, Series
 

French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part II)

RECIPE: Zucchini Frites with Basil Fleur de Sel
Zucchini Frites

Zucchini Frites, with Basil Fleur de Sel

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Zucchini Frites with Basil Fleur de Sel
Zucchini FritesIngredients
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into French fries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 basil leaves, sliced into a fine chiffonade
  • 3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel

Procedure

Fill a cast iron skillet halfway up with vegetable oil, and heat it to 350°F.

While the oil is heating, toss the zucchini sticks with the flour in a large baggie.

Fry the zucchini in batches, shaking off any excess flour before slipping them into the oil. They should take about 2 to 4 minutes to become crunchy and golden on the outside, and soft within. If you are making zucchini chips, the cooking time will be lower. Just remove them when they are golden. Drain the fries or the chips on paper towel.

While the zucchini is frying, combine the basil leaves and fleur de sel. Sprinkle it over the zucchini while it is still hot.

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Categories: Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Series, Sides, Vegetables, Vegetarian
 

French in a Flash: "Summer" Lobster Sandwiches with Zucchini Frites and Heirloom Tomato Salad (Part III)

RECIPE: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel
Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad, with South of France Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Olive Oil and Fleur de Sel
Heirloom Tomato SaladIngredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes of assorted colors, sliced
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Fleur de sel for seasoning

Procedure

Arrange the rainbow of sliced tomatoes on a platter. Drizzle with the best olive oil you have, and finish with fleur de sel. This would be a fun place to use basil oil, or garlic oil, or even lemon oil.

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, French in a Flash, Recipes, Salad, Series, Sides, Soup & Salad, Vegetables, Vegetarian
 

The Secret Ingredient (Squid Ink) Part III: Black Clams Casino

RECIPE: Black Clams Casino
Black Clams Casino

Black Clams Casino

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Black Clams Casino
serves 4 to start
Black Clams CasinoIngredients
  • 24 little neck clams, shucked, and 12 clam shells
  • 1 thick slice bacon, finely diced
  • 1/2 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • The leaves of 1 stem of thyme
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 grams squid ink
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Procedure

Preheat the oven to 500°F.

Set the 12 clam shells on a baking tray, and lay 2 clams in each shell. You may want to line the tray with rock salt to keep the shells steady.

Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, sauté the bacon on medium heat in 1 teaspoon of olive oil. When it has begun to render its fat, but before it is crisp, add the shallots and the garlic, and season with salt and pepper. When the shallots are translucent, turn off the stove, and add in the thyme, white wine, and squid ink. Stir to evenly distribute the ink. Add in the fresh crumbs, dry bread crumbs, parsley, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Take the crumbs and pack them into the shells. Drizzle with a touch of extra olive oil.

Bake for 10 minutes, and serve warm.

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The Secret Ingredient (Squid Ink) Part II: Spicy Squid Ink Risotto

RECIPE: Spicy Squid Ink Risotto
Squid Ink Risotto

Spicy Squid Ink Risotto

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

Spicy Squid Ink Risotto
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon, plus extra for drizzling
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Small pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 8 grams squid ink
  • 1/2 pound calamari tubes, diced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Procedure

In a sauce pot, bring the stock and water to a simmer.

In a wide pan with high sides, melt the butter into 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add in the shallots, garlic, and chili flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the shallots until just translucent. Then add the rice and toast for 1-2 minutes.

Once you have used all the stock and water, the rice should be tender and creamy, and the calamari should be opaque. Add in the Parmesan and parsley, and stir. Drizzle with a final 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and serve right away.

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The Secret Ingredient (Squid Ink) Part I: Crab Ravioli with Black Brown Butter and Tarragon

RECIPE: Crab Ravioli with Black Brown Butter and Tarragon
Crab Ravioli with Black Brown Butter and Tarragon

Crab Ravioli with Black Brown Butter and Tarragon

Get the whole story at Serious Eats.

When I graduated from college in 2005, my mother and stepfather took me on what should have been a dream vacation: Rome, Florence, Tuscany, and Venice.

None of us had ever been to Italy before. As soon as I left Princeton, I threw myself into planning mode with the same pluck and tenacity I had used to survive my thesis and comprehensive exams. I bought two guidebooks and read them both. I watched Molto Mario religiously for two straight weeks. I practiced making risotto. With every final flourish of extra virgin olive oil I felt more and more like Gina Lollobrigida.

Continue reading

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Categories: 15 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Fish, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, The Secret Ingredient
 

French in a Flash: Drunken Angel Hair with Leeks and Cream

RECIPE: Drunken Leek Pasta
Drunken Leek Pasta

Drunken Leek Pasta

I remember the first time I was drunk very clearly. Which is, from what I have seen of drunkenness ever since, quite a feat. I was three.

I was, of course, with the famille. My cousin Patricia was having a great big wedding, and we’d flown across the Atlantic just to be there. It was the first time I’d ever been to Europe, and we stayed the whole summer.

I remember many things from that summer. Buying strawberry ice cream off the corner, wearing a black and white millerais bathing suit that left a striped tan line, and discovering Coca-Cola in glass bottles for the first time. But the night that stands out most distinctly in my memory was the wedding night. The bride’s parents’ house was turned into a den of delirium and revelry, with white lights strung from every tree and every beam, and I was perkily sitting by Maman and Mémé and a slew of other distant relatives at a table. I had finished my dinner.

“Maman, what is that!?” I demanded loudly of the garnet colored liquid in her tall, elegant glass. She looked so fabulous in her navy silk and red lipstick, holding the ball of the glass, the stem dangling between her long fingers.

“It’s wine” she declared, as though I should have known it all the time.

“Can I have some?”

I don’t know if it’s the same in all French families, but in ours, wine was never denied. It was only rationed. “You can have just a finger!” She stuck her finger into the glass, and pulled it out again, dripping and dangling tantalizing ribbons of Merlot. I knew this was an occasion. An initiation. I could feel it. I wrapped my lips around her finger, and pulled off the wine. I swallowed.

“What do you think?”

I knew there was only one acceptable answer. “I love it!”

And because I could tell it was forbidden, as soon as Maman turned her head, I stuck my finger back in the glass, and had some more. Then I darted off into the party before she had noticed the difference.

Everything was fine, at first. I felt very grown up. But soon, too soon, I because very, very sleepy. I found a couch, and sat down alone. The white lights hanging from the beams started to sway and blur. The next thing I knew, I was being shaken awake, Maman and Mémé standing over me, concerned. “Kerry, are you alright?”

I was disoriented, and dreamy. The picked me up, and carried me off. I didn’t wake up again until the next afternoon. I was sleeping off my first hangover.

I graduated from fingers of wine to glasses of a splash of wine mixed with water, and that’s what I do with the pasta in this week’s French in a Flash on Serious Eats. I buy an inexpensive bottle of French white table wine, and I boil in the angel hair in it, with some water, to flavor the pasta. I then make a sauce of some of the white wine I’d set aside, sweet, soft, sautéd leeks, and cream. It’s so decadent, and really unexpected. Like a drunken Vichyssoise with pasta instead of potato. It makes the perfect side dish to a simple grilled fish. I suppose that if you’re young, or you’re pasta, being drunk isn’t the worst thing in the world after all.

For the Serious Eats post, and recipe, click here!

Drunken Leek Pasta
serves 4 to 6

Drunken Leek PastaIngredients

  • 3 small to medium leeks, whites and light greens sliced into julienne
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup water, plus extra if needed
  • 1 bottle of white wine, 3/4 cup reserved
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon chervil, chopped
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Procedure

  1. In a wide, preferably nonstick sauté pan, melt the butter in 1/4 cup water on medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cover with a lid, lowering the heat all the way down. Cook until soft and spaghetti-like, about 20 minutes, adding water whenever the pan gets too dry, to avoid burning the leeks, and conversely evaporating off any extra liquid once the leeks are soft and sweet.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add all the wine in the bottle except 3/4 cup, and a handful of coarse salt. Add the angel hair to the boiling water and wine, and cook until al dente, just a few minutes.  Drain.
  3. Heat the remaining wine and cream with the leeks.  Toss with the angel hair, and garnish with Parmesan and chervil.  Serve immediately.
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Categories: Eat, French in a Flash, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian