A New England Summer
Pearl Oyster Bar lobster roll c.2005
Yes, I've resorted to recycling old photos in the interim, until I manage to get a new camera
I was craving the delicious Pearl Oyster Bar fried oysters and lobster rolls on a random evening a while back. After numerous pleas to the good folk on Chowhound, I'd forgotten I had been directed to, and bookmarked a site that contained the recipes from the restaurant's owner, Rebecca Charles.
When it comes to cooking, there are a few things that scare me off enough to not want to try. The problem is of course, that the recipes below list two of these things - cooking lobster and frying anything (for fear of being splattered to death in a wall of hot oil). The other is baking bread, but that's for another post.
Anyway, I've worked out that instead of lobster, I can use prawns (as noted at the end of the recipe, which I didn't notice, duh). As for frying oysters, well, I mean, they're oysters - little baby morsels. It can't be that bad right?
We're off to Europe for a short break (read: delayed honeymoon). So once we come back, I'm going to give them a try. Anyone interested in testing out these recipes for me in the meantime? :)
From Rebecca Charles' cookbook - Lobster Rolls and Blueberry Pie
Pearl Oyster Bar Lobster Roll
2 pounds cooked lobster meat, chopped roughly into 1/2 and 3/4-inch pieces
1/2 celery rib, finely chopped
1/4 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
Squeeze of lemon
Pinch of kosher salt and freshy ground black pepper
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 Pepperidge Farm top-loading hot dog buns
Chopped chives for garnish
To make the lobster salad, in a large bowl, combine the lobster meat, celery, mayonaiise, lemon and salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover the mixture and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will last for up to two days.
To prepare the bun, in a small saut� pan over low to medium heat, melt the butter. Place the hot dog buns on their sides in the butter. Flip the buns a couple of times so that both sides soak up an equal amount of butter and brown evenly. Remove the buns from the pan and place them on a large plate.
Fill the toasted buns with lobster salad. Sprinkle with chives and serve with a salad, slaw or shoestring fries.
(Variation: For a shrimp roll, substitute 2 pounds of shrimp, cooked, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise.)
6 to 8 medium oysters
Vegetable, peanut or canola oil
1/2 cup cracker meal (or Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 1/2 cups flour
Pearl Oyster Bar Tartar Sauce (recipe follows)
Greens and chives for garnish
Shuck the oysters and clean and save the shells. Place the oysters in a bowl in their liquor and refrigerate them until ready to fry. In a deep saucepan or pot, heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the cracker meal and flour in a large pie plate to make the dredge. Drain the oysters in a strainer and drop them into the dredge one by one, keeping them separated. Coat each oyster well, then shake off the excess dredge. Drop each oyster gently into the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. It's important not to overfry them. Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt.
To serve, arrange the shells in a circle with the narrow ends of the shells in the center. Put a spoonful of tartar sauce in the center of each shell. Top it with a fried oyster. Garnish the plate with a bouquet of greens in the middle. (Charles likes to use a mixture of baby lettuces). Sprinkle it all with chives.
Pearl Oyster Bar Tartar(e) Sauce
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup roughly chopped capers
1/4 cup chopped cornichons, plus 2 tablespoons of the juice (pickled gherkin/cucumber)
3 cups Hellmann's mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, mix the ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate.