A few weekends ago, per our family tradition, we trekked out to Blackacre to celebrate BCD Dad's birthday. Readers may recall that when it comes to celebrating Dad (either through his birthday or for Father's Day), we always feature his favorite crustacean: LOBSTER!
This year we decided to do things a little differently. Instead of slaughtering giant 4-lb lobsters, we incorporated lobster into a sushi/sashimi course (which also featured obscure seafood ordered from Catalina Offshore Products) and a pasta course. Here was the menu:
- Sushi/sashimi assortment (uni with ikura & quail egg, abalone sashimi, lobster & avocado roll, monkfish liver with ponzu sauce)
- Pasta with uni-butter sauce and lobster
- Apple strudel
The seafood from Catalina Offshore was shipped overnight from California to Blackacre. We ordered two trays of uni (sea urchin), six small abalones, and a "sleeve" of monkfish liver. Mom and Dad found some cheap little (1-1.5 lb) lobsters at an Asian supermarket, so they bought about 7 lbs of lobster altogether, and boiled and "picked" them prior to our arrival.
|Picked lobster and uni ready for sushi; also note the butter|
|Sleeve o' monkfish liver|
While we worked on putting together our first course, we enjoyed some high end sake. It was excellent and fun to have something different. The only trouble was the teeny sake glasses - I kept having to run around the kitchen refilling everyone's glasses!
Dave is a sushi master and lead the charge in creating many of the sushi rolls we had. He made excellent sushi rice and he and Xani constructed the uni nigiri, where the nori forms a cup for the uni (and ikura [salmon roe] and quail egg yolk).
Dave also made a few lobster-avocado-cucumber rolls.
We made a quick ponzu sauce out of soy, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and dashi (Japanese soup stock), and served it with the monkfish liver. In case you missed it, monkfish liver is the foie gras of the sea! It's so delicious and fatty, and slightly fishy.
The last thing we had in our first course was abalone sashimi. Some abalone are giant (the size of a salad plate) and must be heavily trimmed and then beaten into oblivion so they are tender enough to eat. The abalones we got, on the other hand, were small (about 3 inches across) and could be eaten raw if sliced thinly enough. Xani and I watched many videos on how to clean abalones (too many, quite possibly), which allowed Xani to remove the animals from their shells, clean them, and then slice them thinly for sashimi. She plated them in their beautiful mother-of-pearl shells and topped them with ikura.
After we had our sushi/sashimi course, we started on the pasta course. Pasta is one of Dad's other favorite foods....and I'm pretty sure Xani and I inherited the pasta-love gene.
The pasta sauce was very simple. We were inspired by this recipe: we took one tray of uni and blended it with heavy cream. Then we added it to melted butter, added the chopped lobster meat, and tossed in the almost-cooked pasta. We garnished it with lobster claws (reheated in butter - are you sensing a theme?) and chives.
The pasta was absolutely fantastic - it was rich and buttery, and the uni added richness but its flavor wasn't as intense as when eaten raw. The lobster added in was divine.
After we recovered from our seafood feast, it was time for dessert! Dad's request this year was for apple strudel. We made it earlier in the day and used the America's Test Kitchen recipe, which used phyllo dough. Traditional strudel dough is notoriously difficult and Xani had the forethought to avoid that headache and just use phyllo. Brilliant move! The filling had golden raisins, two kinds of apples, some spices, and calvados (apple brandy). We baked it earlier in the day and served it room temperature, along with some locally made stracciatella ice cream (vanilla with crackly chocolate swirl). And coffee - of course!
It was a wonderful meal and as always, so fun to do something like that as a family. Happy birthday Dad - we love you so much!
Uni wishes and lobster dreams -
ps. And now for some gratuitous puppy pics:
ps. And now for some gratuitous puppy pics:
|Eddie begs for more treats from his dealer aka Mom|
Pps. Dad and I went to Don Chuy's taqueria in Cambridge over the weekend. Truly awesome tacos - pictured here are the al carbon, the steak, and the carnitas. We loved them so much, Dad even Yelped about it!