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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Grilled Prime Rib with Aïoli Crusted Lobster

Europeans assume that the only specialty the US has is hamburgers, and when they say hamburgers, they are thinking McD's.  They assume that any meal Americans eat other than burgers is an import (Italian, Mexican, Japanese...). While it is true that the US is a melting pot of cultures, and thus, cuisine, there are a few dishes that are typically American and are rarely seen in other countries.
Surf and Turf is one of them.  The association of a superbe cut of beef with some shrimp, crab, or lobster is unheard of on this side of the pond.  Surf and Turf over here consists of  scallops and leeks. The Surf element is usually some type of shellfish and the Turf element some type of vegetable grown in the ground (as opposed to picked off its plant.). While the Euro style is delicious, nothing screams Vegas the way some excellent prime rib and lobster or king crab does.
Mmm king crab.  Found rarely and always frozen here.
Another diffence I've noticed about France is that shrimp, crab, or lobster is always eaten cold and usually with mayonaise.  Aside from the peel and eat shrimp, I haven't been able to adapt to the cold crustacean business.
No wonder they never thought to pair it with a lovely côte de boeuf!  They don't really imagine hot lobster tail at all.
The advantage of being an expat is being able to create fusion between the two cultures.  In the south of France, they have this garlic emulsion called aïoli that they eat with their cold seafood and steamed vegetables.  I took it to the fusion level and brushed it onto my lobster before roasting it, making it beautifully crusty.  I did a similar version of this a few months ago with rouille.
To balance it out, I made a side of garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed fennel with spinach. 
Since I have mega issues cooking for 1 or 2, this happily feeds 4.
Rusted Aïoli
5 cloves garlic, smashed
Pinch fleur de sel
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp Rouille spices (chile powder, paprika, saffron)
1 tsp minneola (tangelo) juice
Few grinds black pepper

Make this first.  You can do it ahead of time. (Metal)
1.  In a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic into a paste with the fleur de sel.  You don't want any bits and pieces.  You want a smooth paste.
2.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the egg yolk and the minneola juice.  Whisk well.  There will be a chemical reaction happening between the acid and the egg.
3.  Very slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking, just a little at a time.  You want to create a mayonnaise-like emulsion.  I completely suck at doing this, but I don't really care because I'm going to brush it on some lobster and roast it.. not dip cold crab into it!

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and steamed (pressure cook 15 minutes)
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp minneola juice
1 Tbsp aïoli
Pinch fleur de sel
Few grinds black pepper
Handful freshly chopped parsley
1/2 cup milk

The mashed potatoes can be done ahead of time and reheated stovetop during the roasting waiting time. (Earth)
1.  While still hot, peel the potatoes.  Why not peel them before and avoid burning your fingers?  Well, because they lose much of their taste and nutrients when you do it that way.  Potatoes don't have many nutrients to begin with, so who cares about that.. they taste better this way, trust me.
2.  Put them in a pot off heat and mash them with a fork along with the butter, minneola juice and aïoli.
3.  At this point if you feel like using a whisk, go right ahead, but I just kept my fork and was quite happy with the result.  On low heat, add in the milk a bit at a time until they reach desired consistency.
note if making ahead:  don't use all the milk beforehand for you might need it when you reheat stovetop.
4.  Whisk in the parsley, fleur de sel, and black pepper.  Taste and make sure they are garlicky enough.  If not, add more aïoli!

Sautéed Fennel and Spinach
200g (about 1/2lb) fresh spinach, washed and dried
1 fennel bulb, sliced into moons
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp aïoli
Pinch fleur de sel
Few grinds black pepper
2 Tbsp minneola juice

Get your veggie fix (Wood and Metal).
1.  Heat half the oil in a wok and add the sliced fennel until softened, then set aside.  I did this step ahead and the rest during the roasting waiting time.
2.  Heat the other half of the oil in the same wok and wilt the spinach.  You may want to do this in batches so it doesn't steam.
3.  Add the fennel back in along with the minneola juice, fleur de sel, and black pepper.
4.  Remove from heat and stir in the aïoli.

Prime Rib
450g (1 lb) côte de boeuf about 1 1/2 inch thick
Fleur de sel
Cracked black pepper
Drizzle olive oil
pinch chopped parsley

Prep your prime rib. (Fire)
1.  Rub some fleur de sel and black pepper onto each side of your lovely Côte, then massage a drizzle of olive oil onto it.  That's it fir the prepping.  Make sure it is out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes before cooking.
2.  Heat your griddle pan or BBQ on high.  Cook for 2 1/2 minutes on each side, then transfer to a 190°C 375°F oven (griddle pan and all) for another 8 minutes for medium rare.
3.  Let rest for 2-3 minutes before cutting.

Roasted Lobster
2 small North American lobsters, defrosted and halved
Squeeze of minneola (tangelo) juice
Freshly chopped parsley
2 Tbsp aïoli

Get your crust on your lobsters. (Water)
1.  Make sure you drain any liquid from the defrosted lobsters.  I don't do live lobster.  Can't kill it.  I don't mind so much with oysters or mussels, but things that walk and can look at me and scream are too hard for me to kill.  Yes, I'm a softie..
2.  Squeeze some of the minneola juice onto each half, then brush the aïoli on.  Top with fresh parsley.  As I cut my lobsters in half, I noticed one was male and one was female.  Guess who saved all the lobster roe for herself?  Teehee!
3.  Roast at 190°C 375°C for 10 minutes.  If you time this right, the lobster is the last thing you serve, so your prime rib has already rested and your sides are already served.  Get it? Yes, be efficient.

I even managed to make this balanced with the Elements.

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