Lobster Burgers

The Lobster Burger

Inspired by Michel Richard Citronelle lobster burgers (as close as I can come to replicating).  Makes 4 burgers.   These are not the mayonnaise-y lobster rolls you might associate with the Northeast U.S.  More like pure lobster bliss on a hamburger bun.  Working with lobster meant can be time-consuming and expensive, but anyone who has ever had these at Citronelle will tell you it’s worth it.

  • 4 1b lobsters (1 lb lobster= ¼ lb lobster meat)
  • 1/4 pound scallops
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon peeled and grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 brioche buns

Cook the lobster meat
Preferred method:  Using a large, heavy chef’s knife, slice the live lobsters down the middle.  Remove the tails and claws (including knuckles).  Cook the claws first, for 6 minutes in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Transfer to ice bath.  Then boil the tails for 4 minutes and transfer to ice bath.  If you really love working with lobster shells, you can cook the legs, too.  The leg meat is good for binding the burgers, but this adds a lot of time and effort for not a lot of extra meat.

If you aren’t comfortable stabbing a live animal to death, then just boil the lobsters whole, and then transfer to ice bath.  When cool, remove the tails and claws, discarding the bodies.

Extract the meat from the knuckles, claws and tails.  Chop into various-sized pieces, some big chunks as well as some smaller pieces to help with binding.  Set aside and keep cool.

Make the lobster patties
In a food processor, puree the scallops for a few seconds until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons of milk. Fold the scallop mixture into the lobster meat. Season with salt and pepper.  Optional – fold in some sliced basil or scallions for color.  Divide the mixture evenly and mold into 4 lightly packed patties.  Keep cold until ready to cook and eat.

Roasted Tomato slices
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Set the tomato slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with garlic and sugar, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (Basil oil if you like). Cook for 10-15 minutes and cool.

Ginger mayonnaise
In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, soy sauce, and ginger.  Keep cool until ready to eat.

Cook the burgers
In a pan over medium heat, sautee the patties in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until golden, about 5 minutes on each side.

Split the buns and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil. Lightly toast. Serve the burgers with a slice of tomato and the ginger mayonnaise.

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Tuna Burgers Citronelle-Style

Tuna Burgers Citronelle-Style

One of (if not the) top restaurants in D.C. is Michel Richard Citronelle. On the bar menu is the well-known tuna burger – easily the best I’ve ever had. It’s kind of like a seared tuna tartare on a bun with some wasabi mayo and a basil-infused tomato. This is inspired by that, but with a few little tweaks of my own. The one thing I haven’t figured out is how to do the paper thin potato crisps, but otherwise, it’s pretty close. If you know somewhere to buy fresh brioche rolls, get them for this. Otherwise, try a potato roll or other soft roll. For the true Citronelle experience, make French fries by cooking them 3 times in clarified butter! This recipe makes four good-sized burgers.

Tuna Burger:

  • 1.5 lbs Sushi-grade tuna, trimmed to remove any sinew
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • Pinch of cayenne, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper Vegetable oil
  • 4 soft buns or dinner rolls, lightly toasted

Dice the tuna, making some of it very small dice, and leaving some coarser and uneven. In a chilled bowl, mix the tuna with scallions, ginger, mustard, soy, cayenne, and salt/pepper. Divide the mixture into four parts, and form into balls. Then pat them flat, about 1-inch thick. Chill for 30 minutes.

Heat a dry large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Pour enough oil into pan to just cover the surface but not too much. Gently place the patties in the pan, and cook for 1-2 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the second side. Remove immediately from the pan.

Wasabi Mayonnaise:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 T wasabi powder
  • 1 T fresh lime juice

Mix the powder with water to form a paste, then blend into the mayonnaise and lime juice. Can be made ahead.

Basil Oil (if you don’t have it store-bought)

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Large handful of basil leaves

Pour the olive oil and basil leaves into blender, puree until smooth. Transfer to small bowl, or ideally, an empty diner-style ketchup dispenser.

Basil-infused tomatoes

  • 1 beefsteak tomato
  • ¼ cup basil oil

Slice the tomato very thinly. Lay slice on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil, and cover with basil oil. Bake at 275 for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Assembly

Put wasabi mayonnaise on both sides of the bun. Place a tomato slice on the bottom bun, and place the tuna burger on top of the tomato. Drizzle a little basil oil on top of the tuna burger and cover with the bun top.