Smoked Lobster and Wild Mushroom Pancakes with Crème Fraiche and a Trio of American Caviars
Succulent lobster, aromatic from wood smoke, and woodsy wild mushrooms flavor pancakes topped with red, gold, and black caviars. This is a fabulous dish for a brunch or an elegant supper. The lobster and mushrooms may be prepared a day in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Do not make the batter or cook the pancakes until just prior to serving.
- Hickory Chips or Mixed Hickory, Applewood, and Pecan Chips - 1 cup,
- Live Lobsters - 1, 1-1/2 to 2 pounds
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Olive Oil - 6 tablespoons, divided
- Mixed Wild Mushrooms - 3 cups, such as chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, porcini, and stemmed shiitakes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- All-Purpose Flour - 2-1/4 cups
- Baking Powder - 1 tablespoon
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Eggs - 2, lightly beaten
- Milk - 1-3/4 cups
- Green Onions - 6, white part and 2 inches of green tops, thinly sliced
- Crème Fraiche - 6 to 9 tablespoons
- Red Salmon Caviar - 3 tablespoons
- Golden Whitefish Caviar - 3 tablespoons
- Black American Sturgeon Caviar - 3 tablespoons
- Fresh Parsley - 3 tablespoons, minced
- Fresh Chives - 12
Soak the wood chips for 20 minutes in water to cover. Light a fire in a charcoal grill.
To make the pancakes: Kill the lobster by inserting a knife in the cross-shaped spot in the top of the head, between and just behind the eyes. Twist the tail from the body. Split it down the middle lengthwise. Cut the claws off and crack the shells with the back of a heavy knife. Reserve the body for making stock.
When the coals are glowing red, drain the wood chips and sprinkle them over the coals. Place the lobster on a lightly oiled cooking rack and place the rack over the fire. Cover the grill. Grill and smoke the lobster for 5 minutes, then turn the claws and cook an additional 3 minutes. Remove the lobster from the grill and, when cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the shell and cut it into 1/2-inch dice.
Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Season with salt and pepper, set aside, and let cool.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine the eggs and milk in a large measuring cup and add to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine, then add the green onions and pepper.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil is very hot, add 1/2 cup of the pancake batter, swirling to distribute it evenly. Place one sixth of the lobster and mushrooms on top of the batter. Cook the pancake until browned on the bottom and beginning to dry on the surface. Turn the pancake with a spatula and cook on the other side. Keep the pancake warm in a very low oven and repeat with the remaining batter to make six pancakes.
To serve: Place one pancake on each of six small plates and divide the crème fraiche and caviars on top of each. Sprinkle with the parsley and place two chives over each dish.