Monday, January 21, 2013

The Easy & Fast Way - Marc Forgione's Chili Lobster & Texas Toast

 Marc Forgione/TriBeCa, Photo Courtesy of Restaurant Marc Forgione
"Chef Way, Real Way" is one of my favorite features in Food and Wine Magazine. In it, the magazine's contributors figure out ingenious ways to make even the most involved and time consuming pro chef dishes more accessible to the home cook. 

This week, motivated by a fierce, ever-burgeoning obsession with a restaurant dish that "had me at hello," we're tackling Iron Chef Marc Forgione's bestselling appetizer "Real Way" style:

Chili Lobster with Texas Toast

Restaurant Marc Forgione in NYC's TriBeCa is a delightful place for a special night out. Check out their website HERE.  Forgione's creative and playful take on New American fare is as unique as it is well executed. The restaurant's rustic yet still modern ambiance is warm and inviting, and the service is always on point.  Order Chili Lobster as your appetizer. Please. You won't be sorry. What's it like? Well just imagine bite-sized chunks of Lobster bathed in a super spicy, buttery, and herbacious Asian Chili Sauce served along with thick slices of Sourdough Texas Toast that's just begging to be dipped. So now you know why we just had to to remake this showstopper recipe for the home cook.
Photo Courtesy of

Our Changes to the Forgione Version:
Forgione's original recipe calls for Lobster Stock. Stock can be time consuming to make and requires you to have several lobster carcasses on hand, which both drives up the price of the recipe as well as the time it takes to prepare. Some specialty food markets do carry a paste-like Lobster base specifically for Lobster Stock. If you can find it, that would be a great option. Instead, my gourmet market carried a more widely available high-quality seafood stock concentrate that listed Lobster as one of its ingredients - it's called Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold from a brand called More Than Gourmet. Use this appropriately red-hued concentrate at full strength for this recipe and you will be left with a fast and fantastic lobster-ish stock that does the job. If you can't find it, regular Seafood Stock is another great option. We like the one from Kitchen Basics

Photo: NK 
Forgione also calls for various parts of the Lobster to be sauteed and baked separately. To make our Chili Lobster the faster home-cook way, we exclusively use easy to find frozen Lobster Tails that need only to be thawed, sliced in the shell, and very briefly stir fried in a blazing hot wok. Our version of Chili Lobster will save you time and the hassle of buying and processing several whole lobsters. As an added bonus, you don't have to worry about boiling live lobsters if you are squeamish about executing the poor guys - which I absolutely am, hypocrite though I may be.

Time to get out your fish forks. We're ready to cook. 

NK's Chili Lobster with Texas Toast
Adapted from Chef Marc Forgione of Restaurant Marc Forgione 
Serves 2 as a large appetizer or light entree 

1 Lb of Lobster Tails - Four 4 Ounce Tails (defrosted if frozen)

1 Cup Lobster Stock - Or prepare your own Mock Lobster Stock according to the below* OR 1 Cup Seafood Stock (We prefer Kitchen Basics) OR** 3/4 Cup Clam Juice mixed with 1/4 Cup Water

Mint Chiffonade and Scallion Threads, Photo: NK
2 Tablespoons Sriracha
1 Tablespoon regular Soy Sauce
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Tablespoon Ginger, minced
1.25 Tablespoons Garlic, minced
Juice of 1 Lime
2 Tablespoons Mint, cut into a chiffonade
2 Scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced lengthwise into skinny threads (optional) 
4 Thick Slices of Sourdough, toasted
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

*Ingredients & Prep of Seafood Stock 
(Yields 3.75 Cups/Adjust to the amount you desire - **you will only need 1 cup of stock per every 2 servings)
3.75 Cups Water
1.5 Ounce Container of "Glace de Fruits de Mer Gold" Stock Base by More Than Gourmet 

~To make Seafood/Lobster Stock, simply combine the entire 1.5 Ounce container of Glace de Fruits de Mer with water and stir over low heat.
~**Alternate Seafood Stock Substitute**- Simply Mix 3/4 Cup Clam Juice with 1/4 Cup Water

Chili Lobster & Texas Toast, Photo: NK

If you haven't already, toast the Sourdough and set aside. 

Using a kitchen scissor, clip all the tiny legs off the underside of the Lobster Tails.
Place Tails on a cutting board and cut, keeping the shell on, into 1 inch pieces. Note that it is easiest to cut through the crease in the shell segments and it requires a little elbow grease. 

Pan Sauteeing the Lobster Pieces, Photo NK
Over a medium flame, add Canola Oil to a Large Saute Pan or Wok and heat until the oil begins to smoke. 

Add the Lobster Tail pieces carefully (the oil may spit) and cook about 1 minute, stirring. Flip pieces over and cook for another minute. 

Toss the Garlic and Ginger into the wok and deglaze the wok by adding 1 Cup of Lobster Stock or Storebought Seafood Stock. 

Remove Lobster to a plate.

Turn flame up just a bit and allow Stock to reduce by half. This should take a few minutes but make sure to keep your eye on it. 

Next, add Sriracha (less if you are spice sensitive), and whisk in the Butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, into the wok. Stir to combine. 

Add Soy Sauce, several generous squeezes of the Lime, and Salt and Pepper according to your taste. Turn off the flame and toss Lobster back into Wok and give it a quick stir to coat. 

To Plate: Portion out Lobster Pieces into two bowls. Pour equal amounts of Chili Sauce over each serving. Perch 2 Slices of Texas Toast on the rim of each bowl. Garnish the Toast with Scallion Threads and the Lobster with the chiffonade of Mint. Serve with fish forks and enjoy!

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