Monday, May 3, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Awesome Seafood Sausage

I seem to have trouble breaking out of newly-found cookbook ruts. (I suppose this is not unique to cookbooks, actually, as you can tell by looking at how many consecutive times I always have to listen to You & Me by The Walkmen before I'm able to move on to another album...) I finally broke free from Bouchon a while back, only to fall into the clutches of Momofuku, then From Curries to Kebabs... and, of course, there is Charcuterie...
I came back to Charcuterie this time because I was making a lobster curry for lunch and had lobster on the brain. I had some vague recollection of throwing a post-it on the page of a sausage involving lobster last time I flipped through Charcuterie, and decided I'd give that a try this weekend as well. The recipe (sausage-stuffing aside) is quite simple. You start off with a lobster (his name was Mr. Pinchy), some shrimp, egg white, cream, leeks, white pepper, and herbs.
I have to go off on a tangent and let you know that (since I only needed half a teaspoon of ground white pepper) I actually used the totally adorable little brass mortar and pestle that I bought for a couple bucks in an antique store before I moved to Australia. I've had this damned thing for almost three and a half years, and finally justified its purchase yesterday. Woohoo! (See, dad. I told you I needed it...)
The shrimp, cream, and egg white are puréed until smooth with the white pepper and a little salt,
then the rest of the ingredients are folded in. These include a mix of herbs (from left to right: chervil, chives, tarragon, and parsley),
as well as the leeks (which have been chopped and blanched) and lobster (which has been cooked (via a pleasant hot bath, unlike his friends) and diced).
At this point you're ready for stuffing into casings, although these sausages are eventually poached, so creating links in plastic wrap is also acceptable in a pinch. (Heh. Inadvertent lobster pun...)
After poaching in a 170°F water bath until an internal temperature of 135°F is reached, the cooked links are removed from their casings and are ready to be served up.
I wasn't really sure what to do with these beautiful sausages, but decided to serve them like sort of a fancy hot dog. The original plan was to bake my own Lobster Roll-style buns, but we were without potable tap water on Sunday (and still are today), so things were already complicated enough in the kitchen without baking bread. I threw a store-bought roll on my grill pan (it was too hot and muggy outside to stand next to a hot grill just for this), made a batch of spicy mayo (mayo + sriracha + a drop or two of sesame oil) and tore a few leaves of butter lettuce.
I reheated the sausage on the grill pan (not a huge fan of the cheesy-looking grill marks, but these are so delicate that I would worry a little about throwing it on the ol' Weber... plus: hot and muggy), and baked off some homemade oven-baked Yukon Gold potato chips to throw on the plate beside my "hot dog."
This sausage? Awesome. I know that's totally shocking since it contains lobster, shrimp, leeks, and cream seasoned with lovely fresh herbs. There was pretty much no chance of this not rocking my world. The only variable was the serving method, and I've gotta say that I chose perfectly. The spicy mayo was just the right complement to the delicate seafood, and the cold lettuce gave a nice fresh contrast. I am super-happy that this is going to be my dinner again in about an hour. This one (like so many other recipes I've encountered since I started these cookbook adventures) is going on the list of "things I cook when I want guests to think that I am awesome."

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