Thursday, March 16, 2017

Southwestern Lobster Poutine

Yum


Mrs. Awesome has a goal to see all 50 states before she turns 50. (See the symmetry?) Last year, only four remained - Florida, Vermont, Michigan, and Alaska. In the fall we knocked Florida off the list, flying into Fort Lauderdale, renting a convertible Mustang, and traveling down the Keys. Our first night in balmy Florida we were in Miami Beach, enjoying the sunset, sangria, and lobster poutine. Traditional poutine is a Canadian dish of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Our Southwestern Lobster Poutine recipe is a fusion of that delicious poutine and Mrs. Awesome's heritage as a Southwestern girl.

As you may have noticed from the photo, this dish is not for the calorically frightened, combining french fries, fried cheese curds, and cheese sauce. Mrs. Awesome showed some restraint by not adding bacon crumbles, which were considered.  The flavors are brightened with a quick salsa. We hope you'll enjoy this decadent take on the classic poutine. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)
For the salsa:
1 bell pepper
2 tomatoes
2 T. minced fresh cilantro
1/2 Red onion
1 lime
1/8 t. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

For the fries:

Large order of fries from Five Guys -  two if you really love fries (We love their skin-on fries. You can also buy frozen or make your own from scratch.)

For the cheese sauce:
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
2 c.milk
6 oz. pepper jack cheese, grated
1/4 t. garlic powder
3 shakes of Tabasco, or other pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
3  lobster tails, meat removed and coarse chopped

For the cheese curds:
16 oz cheese curds (we really like our local producer Beehive Cheese Squeaky Bee Curds), broken
     into 1" pieces
1/2 c. light beer (it doesn't have to be a "lite" beer- just a pale ale or lager)
2 T. milk
2/3 c. flour
1 egg
1/4 t. smoked salt
32 oz. frying oil of your preference

Directions:

This recipe will take a little organization in order to pull off, but don't worry, we've got you covered! Work through each component in the order listed, and it will all come together! Of course the more people you enlist/conscript/cajole into helping cook, the easier it will be! 

For the Salsa: 

1. Scoop the disgusting guts out of two tomatoes (Mister Awesome, being all cheffy and stuff would say concasse the tomatoes, but whatevs... and leave the skin on) and the seeds from the bell pepper.

2. Chop the tomatoes, peppers, and red onion into bite-sized pieces

3. Mix in a bowl with the remainder of the ingredients and adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside to allow the flavors to marry while you prepare the rest of the dish.
For the Fries:
1. If you bought already cooked fries, keep them warm in a 200° F oven. Otherwise prepare according to packaging or get to chopping your potatoes and make those fries happen.


For the Pepper Jack Lobster Sauce:

1.  Make a roux by melting the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat and then whisk in the flour. Cook the roux for about 10 minutes, you don't want it to brown- just cook the raw taste out of the flour.

2. Slowly add the milk, about a quarter of a cup at a time and whisk it until the roux is smooth again before adding more. If not, you'll have a lumpy bechamel (bet you didn't know you were making one of the six "mother sauces").

3. Once you've whisked in all of the milk, add the cheese and continue to whisk until it is also melted and incorporated, add the garlic powder, salt and pepper, Tabasco, and then taste

4. Add the chopped lobster. Keep the lobster sauce on a medium-low heat, just below a simmer. You're poaching the lobster which will both cook it and infuse its flavor into the sauce. Stir occasionally and add a little more milk if the sauce becomes too thick. It should be about the consistency of a thick gravy.

5. While this is happening, move on to the cheese curds

For the Cheese Curds:
1. Put 32 ounces of canola oil a saucpan pan on medium high heat and let it heat to 375° F.

2. While the oil heats make the batter by whisking together everything but the curds in a big enough bowl that you can drench the curds in it. 

3. The curds will be fried in 4-5 batches, if you try to fry them all at once, the oil will get too cold and you'll end up with a greasy mess... trust Mr. Awesome on this... he fought the oil and the oil won one round, as you can see in the pictures. (We ate them anyway.)
What cheese curds look like when
the oil isn't proper temperature.
Properly cooked cheese curds





















4. Drop about 1/4 of the curds in the batter, and using a slotted spoon, stir them to coat. Scoop them up and shake some of the excess batter off before carefully dropping them into the hot oil. Pay attention to the temperature, turning up the heat on the stove top if you don't have  a fryer to minimize the temperature drop.

5. They'll cook in about 30 seconds or so, look for desired level of brownness, use another slotted spoon or a strainer to scoop them out and place the curds on a paper towel lined plate.

6. Wait for the oil to come back to temperature, then repeat. Place each batch of the finished curds in the oven to keep warm.

Assembly

1. Fries- a good handful sized portion is plenty

2. Cheese Curds- roughly a quarter of them piled right on top of the fries

3. Add a couple ladles of that Pepper Jack Lobster cheese sauce over it all

4. Complete with a few beautiful tablespoons of the delicious salsa.



Serve immediately and devour!



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