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.
- 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.