I found myself watching some old school Iron Chef episodes the other night and was inspired to make this dish from a tempura fried tuna pocket one of the chefs made. Instead of just tuna I decided to pump it up with a very creamy lobster thermidor and finish it off with some fresh uni I procured from an online purveyor. To finish it off, I used an entire tray of uni to make a sinful aioli that I have since used to garnish everything from fries to poached eggs…This dish will probably seem very involved, but it’s rather simple and well worth the effort!
1 whole lobster, cooked and chopped into ½ inch pieces
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp minced shallots
½ cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp dry sherry
Salt and pepper
1 tray high quality uni
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
1/3 cup EVOO
1 cup tempura batter (I use Hime brand)
½ cup ice cold weather
1 loaf white bread (Sunbeam of course!)
Peanut oil for frying – amount varies based on the size of your frier – you do have a deep fryer don’t you?
Start by cooking the thermidor and preheat the broiler on high. In a sauce pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes for a blond roux. Add the shallots, onions and mushrooms and cook for about three minutes to soften; be sure to stir often to prevent burning. I prefer using a meatier mushroom like the trumpet variety, but any will do.
Stir in the wine, milk, cream and sherry. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Remove the sauce from the stove and stir in the mustard and tarragon. Fold in the lobster and broil for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a little crispy.
Next make the aioli by placing the garlic and salt in a food processor and pulse for 2 seconds. Add the egg yolk and lemon juice, and pulse on and off until blended. Turn on low and begin adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If it becomes too thick, thin it out with some room-temperature water and continue adding oil until you’ve used it all. At this point, add almost all the uni to the food processor; be sure to reserve one piece per person for garnish.
Getting the texture and flavor right is more art than science, so continually taste the sauce and add more oil/uni/water until it fits your taste. Be careful of the garlic as most aioli recipes call for 2 – 3 cloves…this will destroy the delicate uni flavor so please only use one, or it will be an expensive mistake! Prepare the tempura batter by combing the ice water (sans ice) and the tempura mix and set asisde. Make the sandwich rounds by placing ¼ cup of the tempura mixture in
the center of a slice of bread and place another slice of bread on top. Using a 6 inch ring mold or glass cup, cut the sandwiches into rounds; this will also seal the sandwich.
Dunk the sandwich into the tempura batter, and fry on high for about thirty seconds, or until the sandwich is crispy. Cut a sandwich in half and sere with the aioli and a fine piece of the uni…presentation is half the battle!