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Recipe by Mark Kropczynski, executive chef, Grant Grill.

My kids (aged 15 and 9) will eat whatever I put in front of them. They’ve had duck confit, lobster, chanterelles, and all kinds of fish. We put it down and they try it. Mostly it seems to work. A few years ago, I had so much tuna I didn’t know what to do with it. There was a farmer in Lompoc who raised rabbit and wild boar, and he told me, “Listen, I’ll trade you tuna for rabbit. Send me as much tuna as you want.” So I did. It’s always fun if someone has an abundance of one thing for another.

One night my wife was away and the kids, who had a friend over, asked what was for dinner. I told them chicken, but actually, it was the Lompoc rabbit. I had it packed in thyme and salt and pepper and I grilled it up and served it with Yukon gold potatoes. Their friend had seconds and said it was the best chicken he ever had, to which my son proudly said, “My dad is the best chef ever.” That was awesome. Then I told the three of them the truth: “You just ate rabbit.” Rabbit has its own taste and it’s very mild. Well, I guess you could say it’s a lot like chicken.

I’m from Michigan. Now, living in California — in the land of plenty — it’s foolish not to use fresh ingredients. I love to fish and dive in the area, so we have fresh fish a lot. I get tuna and I put it on the grill with balsamic and olive oil or make sushi. I think for most chefs — we work so many hours in the hotel and restaurant — sometimes the simplest things are the best. I love pot roast, braised meats, that kind of thing. It’s easy, and I can make it and reheat it when I come home late at night. It’s nice to have a bite here and there. I also love bread and cheese. I eat that like it’s going out of style at work.

When I lived in Santa Barbara, I dove and fished a lot. And I picked chanterelle mushrooms in the coastal oaks near Santa Barbara. You can find chanterelles in dark, damp soil up to about 3000 feet. Early spring is the perfect time to find them, too. I serve lobster and chanterelles with braised greens and a side dish.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2

  • 2 spiny lobsters, or roughly 2 pounds of lobster-tail meat total (rock lobster can also be used)
  • 1 oz olive oil
  • 3 oz pancetta, small dice
  • 8 oz chanterelles, sliced (morels, lobster mushrooms, or maitake mushrooms can be substituted)
  • 2 tsp shallots, fine dice
  • 4 oz Riesling (or white wine)
  • 2 oz chicken stock
  • 4 oz cream
  • 1 tsp butter
  • lemon juice to taste
  • 2 Tb chopped parsley

HOW TO DO IT

Cut the lobster in half vertically, from head to tail, and remove the lobster-tail meat from the shell. Cut lobster into cubes and season with salt and pepper.

Using a medium sauté pan and a splash of olive oil, begin to saute the pancetta. Once the pancetta begins to brown, add the seasoned lobster meat. Sear the lobster on all sides while you continuously stir the pancetta to prevent burning. Remove the lobster from the pan and add the chanterelles or mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms lightly, then add shallots. Deglaze with Riesling and allow the liquid to reduce to about half. Deglaze with chicken stock and reduce again about half. Add cream and bring to a boil, then finish with butter, lemon juice, and parsley. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve with braised greens or a side dish of your choice.

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Comments

dangswiss June 18, 2009 @ 11:37 p.m.

Isn't there also a new place in Hillcrest called San Diego Lobster? Has anyone tried it yet? I found their website on google, sandiegolobster.com and it says that they have fresh lobster from Maine... Are they any good? Thanks

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Duhbya June 19, 2009 @ 11:06 a.m.

Does this help? (From the website you linked)

About San Diego Lobster

San Diego Lobster Faq's

Catering

Lobster News

San Diego Lobster Temporarily Closed Due to a failed health inspection, San Diego Lobster has closed its doors...we'll see you down the road!

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SDaniels June 19, 2009 @ 1:32 p.m.

Hey, since we're on the subject, Duhbya :) Looking for good seafood restaurants in moderate range downtown LA for tomorrow, and tired of Yelp and Chowhound reviews. Whaddya think?

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David Dodd June 19, 2009 @ 2:40 p.m.

Ms. Daniels:

If you ever find yourself in South El Monte and it isn't on a Monday, there is an Argentine deli on Garvey Avenue between Chico and Potrero called Tito's. No seafood, but the best Argentine empanadas in this hemisphere.

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SDaniels June 19, 2009 @ 2:50 p.m.

Well, thanks, refried, but Argentine food is too meat-obsessed for this group--half of whom will eat seafood but no other meat. We're trying for someplace around Redcat, where we'll be seeing the Wooster Group's La Didone later.

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Duhbya June 19, 2009 @ 2:53 p.m.

Ha! well, since I'm currently residing in Lobsterville (4 yrs now in Maine, after 45 years in my homeland of SD, how's that for a contrast?) I am woefully inadequate as to the current culinary delights available in SoCal. I will add to that, that the best Mexican food, by far, that I have experienced here has been cooked in our own kitchen. Between my wife's authentic tacos, taught to her by her family's Mexican nanny in the early 60's, and my shrimp enchiladas, we could and probably should, open our own dive. Back to seafood, beware of West Coast fare billed as being "Maine Lobster". Maine lobster has become a name brand, like Vermont maple syrup, or Idaho potatoes. The state produces 75 percent of the lobster catch in the United States, and it brings a premium price, both at the docks and on the table. But are you really getting Maine lobster, or is it what some Mainers call an "impostah lobstah," from Canada or elsewhere? The best way to ensure that you're getting true Maine lobster is to either inquire as to its origins or order your own from various shippers in Maine. Maine sells 60 to 70 percent of its catch to Canada, where much of it is then sold back to US fish shops and restaurants as a "product of Canada." Good luck tomorrow, SDaniels!

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SDaniels June 19, 2009 @ 3:05 p.m.

I'm tempted to change my handle to "impostah_lobstah." ;) Too bad we didn't collaborate on opening a place here with your shrimp and my avocado enchiladas--whenever possible I use buttery Hass avos from family trees in Fallbrook. Thanks for the musings, Duhbya, and should I ever make it to Maine, I'll definitely solicit your dining advice.

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Duhbya June 19, 2009 @ 3:40 p.m.

Wow, you got my homesick juices overflowing with the avocado reference. I was the proud "curator" of some of the sweetest Haasies I've ever tasted on two separate ranches I lived on. One in Ramona, the other in Pauma Valley at the foot of Palomar. Muy succulente! I bartered many of the Ramona yield for sushi at a smallish restaurant on Main in El Cajon formerly owned by my friend Taka of Hillcrest and Gaslamp fame. Buttery is right! They're surprisingly found in abundance here in ME, although most likely hecho en Mexico. Since they're not quite as, shall I say, relevant here, the key is to wait a few days (read just right) until they're marked down to 33 cents each and grab as many as a family of three can consume during the following few days. Nothing quite like straight off the elegant mother tree, though. Keep this up and I'll be scheduling a road trip soon!

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SDaniels June 19, 2009 @ 3:52 p.m.

Glad to hear you have ways and ways of enjoying your avos still! And of course you'd better book that trip--we have a restaurant to plan! :)

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