We’ve had family visiting from Seattle for the past several days, and on the first day we put together a clambake – a huge pot (about 7 gallons) filled with potatoes, chorizo, sausage, corn on the cob, steamers, little necks, and lobster.
No one went hungry that night.
The next day, for dinner, Bill made a chowder, using some of the leftover components from the clambake, and I made clamcakes, and, again, yum.
Yesterday I spent some of my time at work thinking about what to do for dinner. I knew we had a little bit of food left from the clambake that I could play with. I wanted to make a bunch of things we could nosh on, kind of a small plates buffet sort of thing. So after work I picked up a few other food items to round out what we already had, and here’s the menu:
Round One (I had these ready when Bill, his brother, Ray, and Alex and Julia returned from the PawSox game they’d attened.)
Turkish Farro Salad (I make this at work, sorry, I can’t share the recipe.)
Quartered cherry tomatoes and cubed fresh mozzarella topped with basil oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper
Cauliflower tossed with curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, and oil, then roasted at 375 for about half an hour. At the end I sprinkled just a little sugar over all of it to temper the slight bitterness.
Fried Zucchini with Two Dipping Sauces
(I dredged the sliced zucchini in seasoned flour, then egg, then a mixture of flour and crushed saltines before frying. The dipping sauces were a chipotle-honey-mayo and…for the kids…ketchup.)
…..about this time everyone was stuffed because of the hotdogs and doughboys consumed at the ball game. Fortunately the preparation for the final course took a while and everyone had time to relax and digest….
Lobster, Corn and Bacon Pancakes.
Not the breakfast pancake kind of pancake – that would have been much too filling. No, these were made the same way I made these Scallion and Red Onion Pancakes with Ginger Dipping Sauce that I wrote about several years ago.
At first, in fact, I was just going to make a version of them with chives, which we have growing in abundance in the garden. And separately I was going to use some of the leftover corn from the clambake to make mini corn cakes…and then I thought I could put lobster (there was about a lobster and a half left over) in with the corn. And then I thought why make two sets of pancakes? Why not combine? And in the end I decided to use the scallion pancake method because it would be lighter.
At some point while I was making some of the other foods, I boiled water and mixed a cup of that into two cups of all-purpose flour. I stirred, then kneaded, the mixture into a ball and put it under a bowl to stay moist while I did other things. I cooked about five or six strips of bacon until it was crispy, and set the bacon fat aside (because there’s always a use for bacon fat). There was one ear of corn remaining, which was just the right amount. I sliced the kernels off and broke them apart. Earlier, while waiting for various things to cook and for people to arrive home, I’d picked the remaining lobster meat – one tail, one claw, and two bodies. I also had coral and tomalley (the eggs and liver) to use. Even though I could probably consume an embarrassing amount of lobster all by myself if I didn’t exercise restraint, it’s nice to have leftovers to play with.
Okay, so I broke up all the lobster into small pieces, mixed them with the corn, the crumbled bacon, and some chives from the garden. That was the filling. No seasoning needed.
After I’d finished the fried zucchini, I cut the ball of dough into four pieces, rolled each into a rectangle-ish shape as thin as possible (the corn gets squished, but that’s okay), brushed them ever so lightly with peanut oil, and spread out some of the filling mixture on top of all that. Like so:
I know, it’s barely worth of the “rectangle” designation. That’s why I included the “ish” up there.
Anyway, starting with the edge closest to me, I started rolling the whole thing up, jellyroll fashion.
(I hurriedly brushed all the flour off my right hand so I could take the above action shot. I amuse myself.)
Next, I cut the roll into four pieces.
The first time out I’d cut the roll into six portions, but they were too small to work with. Four worked better, but I’m thinking just cutting them in half would have been ideal. See, you’re supposed to twist each portion into a sort of spiral, and then tuck the ends under and flatten them. I think this distributes the filling nicely through the dough, but I’m not really sure. I didn’t get much twisting done with these smaller portions, but in the end, there was filling in every bite, so I was happy.
Oh – and I put no thought, really, into the amounts of lobster, corn and bacon I was using, but somehow I had exactly the right amount. I love when that happens.
Okay, once I’d rolled out all the pancakes, I heated some oil in my 14” pan (use whatever size pan you want), and cooked each pancake until it was nicely speckled with brown on each side.
Oh – and the dipping sauce!
Remember the bacon fat I saved? And the coral and tomalley? Good. I’d estimate I had maybe a quarter cup of bacon fat, probably less. I poured that into a small pot, added an equal amount of rice wine vinegar, and the coral and tomalley. I heated all that very slowly over a low flame while I cooked the pancakes, and when I was close to the end, I added some butter, a bit of cider vinegar (ran out of the rice wine vinegar), and some chardonnay. OH! And fresh tarragon from the garden. I whisked that whole mixture together to break up the coral, and I probably could/should have used the immersion blender to get a more homogenized consistency, but I’d already used it when I made the basil oil and I didn’t feel like cleaning it again. So it’s a lumpy sauce. We didn’t care.
Time to eat!
Rather than dipping wedges of pancake into the sauce, we just ate them like this – on a plate.
I wanted to bring the leftovers in to work later today to share, but that ain’t happening. Despite all the “Oh, I’m so full” chorus, the pancakes were gone pretty quick.
Anyway, that’s something new I’ve done recently. Now I’m thinking I could do this with all sorts of leftover bits and pieces…
What’s your favorite use-up-the-leftovers game plan?