It seems like spring will never get here. Every time we can see the grass here in the Twin Cities, nature gives us the finger with more cold and snow. So when the final four Top Chef All-Stars ran up the pristine white sand beach of a tropical island and snorkled for their supper, it seemed like a good opportunity to tag onto that sunny island spirit. While it wasn’t the winner, we were fascinated by the Sweet Potato “Linguine” with Conch and Spiny Lobster from Richard Blais. We also couldn’t pass up two lobster-filled Wednesdays in a row.
We couldn’t find conch and lobster was listed as a substitute so we skipped the conch and upped the lobster — a fantastic way to solve the dilemma, in my opinion. K had a vision for how to make long “noodles” from a sweet potato so he set to work. He cut the sweet potato in half, then in half again creating thick, round discs. Then he took a small handheld veggie peeler and peeled around the outer edge of the circle. And he peeled and peeled and peeled. The potatoes were a lot harder than either of us imagined they could be and K’s hands were quickly covered in thick, chalky, sticky starch.
While all the peeling was happening, I quickly boiled two lobster tails and set them aside to cool a bit before pulling off their tough shells.
K was still peeling (he clearly had the tougher of the jobs) so I set about making the sauce. Some white wine, dried oregano, garlic, chili flakes, onion, fresh parsley, lemon and butter swirled in a pan and, voila, sauce! Once he’d filled a bowl full of long bits of sweet potato swirls, K boiled them in some simmering chicken stock. He felt he left them in about one minute too long and they went from long “noodles” to shorter, more broken sweet potato bits. I peeled and “de-veined” the lobster then put the chunks of meat into the sauce to warm through.
We put the assembled plates onto the festive red place mats, next to the vase of sunny yellow daffodils and had a lovely taste of the islands. Sweet, meaty lobster bathed in a lemony herb butter over thin tender slices of perfectly seasoned sweet potato. For a short time there, when we looked out the window, we could almost see the imaginary blue ocean lap up to the non-existent white sand beach outside. Well played, Mr. Blais. SPOILER ALERT: We’re overjoyed you won!
Alterations: Left out the conch, used a peeler for sweet potatoes instead of a Japanese sheeter mandolin (whatever that is).
Soundtrack: K’s compilation of sounds from the previous week’s Transmission 10th Anniversary party.