Wednesday, October 22, 2014

San Juan Lobster (serves 2)


This dish is inspired by a delicious shrimp mofongo that I first ate in San Juan (Puerto Rico) years ago when I was there for work.  I stayed at the Ritz Carlton and read that there were a few highly rated restaurants nearby and was excited to try them out.  I invited my coworker to join me but she did not want to leave her hotel room.  I enjoyed work and travel, and the one thing I did was take advantage of my surroundings by exploring when I was done with work.  It never bothered me to dine solo in a restaurant.  During that one year I was traveling quite a bit for work (on average of about 1-2 trips per month).  I looked forward to each work trip because to me it meant I was going to a new destination and eat something that I have never eaten before!  Luckily I had a very generous meal account!  

Mofongo is taking fried green plantain and mashing it with garlic, salt, oil, and sometimes some fried pork fat. The last time I ate shrimp mofongo was in a Puerto Rican restaurant in East Harlem (New York City). The dish would have been great except for the very salty sauce. Unfortunately I was not able to enjoy it then so I have decided to re-create it.  I find that it is best to under season with salt when cooking if one is unsure of another person's taste.  It is easier to adjust by adding more salt later than to take it away after it has been added.  I was not able to find any plantains at my local grocer this week so I made the sauce and ate it with brown rice.  I called this dish San Juan lobster since it reminded of the first time I tasted this yummy sauce.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic, smashed and minced
1/2 medium white onion (~1/2 cup)
1 scallions chopped (~1/4 cup)
1/2 cubanelle pepper, diced (~1/2 cup)
1/3 C chopped cilantro (leaves and stems)
1 large tomato, diced (~1 cup)
1/2 C water (plus a little more if needed)
1/2 tsp Broth Base & Seasoning (chicken flavored)
1/4 tsp salt
10-oz lobster meat, cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp annatto oil
A large pinch of ground black or white pepper (optional)
A little extra fresh chopped or julienned cilantro leaves to add at the end

Method:

1) Heat a pan over medium high heat.  Once the pan is hot add oil.
2) Once the oil is heated add garlic, onion, scallions, cubanelle pepper and cilantro.  Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
3) Add tomato, Broth Base, salt, and water.  Reduce heat to a simmer once the liquid starts to boil.  Cook about 8 minutes.  Add a little more water if the liquid gets too low.
4) Add lobster meat and annatto oil. Stir a few times and let everything simmer for another 5 minutes or until meat is heated through.
5) Turn off heat.  Add black pepper and extra fresh cilantro.  Give it a few stirs and serve immediately.

*If you do not have the Broth Base & Seasoning you may substitute with chicken broth.  If you are using store bought chicken broth you may omit the water and extra salt if needed.  Some chicken broth may already have enough added salt.  As always adjust the ingredients according to your taste and like.

after the rain
(Seacoast NH, 2014)
another autumn day
(Seacoast NH, 2014)
*Autumn brings cool weather and vibrant colorful leaves.   Some days I am mesmerized by the beauty of my surroundings (here in New Hampshire).

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