RECIPES: Recipe Details
Lobster & Corn Burgers With Cob Smoked Bacon On Garlic Crostini
Why this is a great local burger? Because New England has the freshest of lobster, corn on the cob, and cob smoked meats, all ingredients needed for this special burger.
As a child, I was first introduced to boiled lobster while vacationing in Maine, and my fondness for this delicacy continues to increase to this day. This burger is reminiscent of the classic New England dinner of boiled lobster and fresh picked local corn on the cob. Growing up in Vermont, our family would visit the local smokehouse, where samples were displayed for tastings. You bet we didn’t have to be coaxed to visit! We would then look forward to large platters of cob smoked products, in particular, their smoked bacon and hams. The aromas and tastings are still with me today. The cob smoked bacon adds a special final touch to our favorite burger.
2 ounces sea scallops
1 large egg white
1-1/2 cups fresh corn kernels, including "milk" from scraping the cobs with the back of a knife (or frozen corn, thawed)
2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt, plus (optional) additional for seasoning cooked burgers
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus (optional) additional for seasoning cooked burgers
2 pounds cleaned, uncooked lobster meat, chopped into approximately 1/2-inch pieces, divided
1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs or panko (Japanese breadcrumbs, finely crushed)
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
Red Pepper Aioli:
1 garlic clove, peeled
½ cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, well drained, patted dry
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, such as Colavita
To taste, sea or kosher salt
To taste, freshly ground black pepper
12 thick-cut slices of cob smoked bacon*
Vegetable oil for brushing the griddle and patties
12 (½ - inch - thick) slices French sourdough bread
To taste, unsalted butter, softened, for spreading on both sides of the bread
2 large cloves garlic, peeled, halved crosswise
6 butter lettuce leaves, rinsed, dried
Puree the scallops with egg white in a large food processor, then press puree through a fine-meshed strainer into a large chilled bowl.
In bowl of the same uncleaned processor, combine 3/4 cup corn, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; process until fairly smooth. Add 3/4 (scant) pound of the lobster meat; blend until smooth. Combine mixture with the scallop puree. Fold in the remaining corn, remaining lobster meat, breadcrumbs and basil. With wet or oiled hands, gently mix together well, handling the mixture as little as possible to avoid compacting it. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the bread. Place in a single layer on a large parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes; remove 15 minutes before grilling.
Preheat a gas grill to medium high.
To make the aioli, finely chop the garlic in a food processor. Add the peppers and blend until almost smooth; blend in the mayonnaise. With the machine running, slowly blend in the oil. Transfer to a small bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
When the grill is ready, place a heavy-duty fire-proof large rectangular griddle (or skillet*) on the grill rack and cook bacon until browned and crisp. Drain on paper towels; wrap lightly in aluminum foil. Remove griddle from the grill rack; wipe with paper towels.
Generously oil grill rack or replace griddle pan back on the (ungreased) grill rack to heat; generously brush griddle with vegetable oil.
Uncover patties and generously brush both sides of patties with oil. Place the patties on the grill rack or griddle; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Carefully turn with a large spatula and cook until opaque throughout about 3- 5 minutes more. Remove burgers to a large platter; loosely cover with foil.
While patties cook, prepare crostini. Lightly spread both sides of the bread slices with butter; set aside.
If necessary, remove griddle from grill rack. Place foil wrapped bacon on the outer edges of the grill to warm. Place buttered bread slices on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly, turning once. Remove toasts and rub one (or both) sides of the toasts with the garlic, then remove heated bacon.
To assemble the burgers, evenly spread the aioli over one side of each toast. Place a lettuce leaf over 6 bottom aioli covered toasts. Layer each with a burger, (if desired, season tops of burgers with salt and pepper to taste) 2 slices of bacon, and top toast, aioli covered side down. If desired, halve each burger on a diagonal and serve.
Yield: 6 servings.
* Dried corn cobs are used during the smoking process for smoking the bacon (as well as hams.)