Chef Kara van Emmerik shows how fresh seafood is the perfect partner for bright summer flavors.
While lobster treats are no rarity in coastal Maine, at Dudley's Refresher—a seasonal takeout eatery in the tiny seaside village of Castine—chef de cuisine Kara van Emmerik elevates these Down East treasures with peak-season flavors in authentic and scratch-made dishes.
"For me, cooking means utilizing the foods that are abundant and most intriguing in any given season. It ensures a freshness that cannot be replicated," van Emmerik says. This sentiment is deliciously embodied in her supple poached lobster tails topped with delicately dressed pea shoots.
Fresh lobster needs gentle cooking methods such as steaming or poaching, van Emmerik explains; techniques such as boiling, roasting, or grilling are more prone to overcooking the lobster, yielding tough, rubbery meat. Try her original version of this dish, plus even more North Atlantic-inspired summer flavors, this month at Dudley's Refresher.
Poached Lobster Tails with Dressed Pea Shoots Hands-on: 15 min. Total: 50 min. Simmer gently so the lobster stays supple.
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 2 garlic cloves, halved 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced 1 (2-inch) piece lemongrass, halved 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock 2 1/2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 2 1/2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce, divided 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 (5-ounce) fresh lobster tails 4 teaspoons canola oil 2 teaspoons honey 1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1/4 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger 1/4 teaspoon minced shallots 3 ounces pea shoots 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low. Add red pepper, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass; cook 5 minutes. Stir in stock, honey, vinegar, and 2 1/4 teaspoons soy sauce. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook 30 minutes. Stir in black pepper.
- Place tails in stock. Cover; cook 4 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145°. Remove tails from pan.
- Split tails lengthwise. Remove meat from shells; slice. Pour cooking liquid through a sieve into a saucepan; discard solids. Keep liquid warm over low heat.
- Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoons soy sauce, canola oil, and next 5 ingredients; stir with a whisk. Add pea shoots; toss.
- Place about 1/3 cup cooking liquid in each of 4 shallow bowls. Arrange about 3 ounces lobster meat in each bowl; top each serving with about 1/3 cup pea shoots. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.