Eating Well: A leaf-peeper's lobster brunch
Invite your leaf-peeping friends to an elegant brunch that will remind them of a summer lobster bake. The menu features lobster pecorino frittata, an interesting mixture of home fries, sauteed onion, fresh corn kernals, lobster meat and parsley held together with eggs, butter and cream topped with grated Romano cheese.
Spicy zucchini with mint (zucchini, onion, lemon, fresh mint and red pepper flakes) accompanies the frittata and will help sleepy people stay awake to view Maine’s colorful leaves.
The recipes are from “Bubby’s Brunch Cookbook: Recipes and Menus from New York’s Favorite Comfort Food Restaurant,” by Ron Silver and Rosemary Black, published by Ballantine Books in 2009.
Ron Silver, chef-owner of the beloved 20-year old downtown Manhattan restaurant, Bubby’s Pie Company, gives us his best brunch recipes and menus. Learn how to make your own pastrami, or for something easier, try blueberry scones, banana walnut pancakes, smoked trout cakes, blintzes or a Cajun omelet.
Silver includes recipes for the traditional brunch libations and adds a few new drinks such as watermelon lemonade, which you could take in your Thermos to sip during a leaf-peeping hike.
As the Canada geese are flying south, people flock to Maine to enjoy the colorful autumn foliage. The leaves turn yellow, red, scarlet, purple and brown – sharp colors on sunny days, muted colors on rainy or foggy days, and contrasting with the stark white trunks of birch trees and the black trunks of maples and oaks. Drive on Maine’s highways and see sturdy stands of scarlet sumacs contrasted with quivering yellow poplar leaves, or take a fall foliage hike or canoe trip led by a Maine ranger.
Information about ranger-led viewing is available at maine.gov. On Sunday, Oct. 3 at 10 a.m., enjoy a three-mile walk through a colorful wooded forest at Sebago Lake State Park, or, on that same day and time, talk a half-hour walk up Pownal’s Bradbury Mountain, where you can see all the way to the coast. On Saturday, Oct. 9 at 10 a.m., go to the Turner Boat Launch off Center Bridge Road in Turner for the Androscoggin Riverlands Fall Foliage Paddle, led by the Androscoggin Land Trust. And on Sunday, Oct. 10, go to Camden Hills State Park at 1 p.m. and take the 2½-mile hike up Mount Battie. Regular entrance fees apply for these guided trips. For more listings, look at take-it-outside.com — and enjoy your lobster brunch.
Lobster Pecorino Frittata
1 large potato
One 1 1/2- to 2-pound live lobster
12 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 red onion, finely diced
Kernels from 2 ears fresh corn
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Scrub the potato and prick it in several places with a fork. Place the potato on the oven rack and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, depending on its size. When the potato is soft, remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Set a colander in the bottom of a deep, wide stockpot and fill the stockpot with water to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Salt the water generously. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, place the lobster into the colander. Cover the pot, lower the heat to a simmer, and steam the lobster for about 15 minutes. Remove the lobster from the pot and plunge it into cold water to stop the cooking. Let cool completely.
Once the lobster has cooled, remove the meat and cut it into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Without removing its skin, cut the potato in half lengthwise. Cut each half into half-inch-thick half-moon slices.
Using a whisk or a fork, beat the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Beat in the heavy cream.
Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the potato slices and turn the heat to medium-high. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the potatoes, continuously flipping them with a spatula, until browned. Don’t worry – the potatoes won’t fall apart from all the handling. Watch carefully and don’t allow them to burn.
When the potatoes are nicely browned, add the red onion and corn. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to color. To ensure that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, run a spatula along the edges and bottom to dislodge any vegetables that adhere to the pan.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the pan and allow to melt and begin to sizzle. Add the lobster and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs evenly over the mixture in the pan. Sprinkle with the Pecorino cheese.
Bake the frittata for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it begins to puff up slightly. It should still be a little runny in the very center. Allow the frittata to stand for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
Spicy Zucchini with Mint
3 zucchini sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Place the zucchini in a colander, sprinkle it with the salt, and allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. The salt will extract the water from the zucchini, so put a bowl underneath to catch the water. Alternatively, set the colander in the sink so the water drains into the sink.
Rinse the zucchini thoroughly under cold running water for about 30 seconds to remove the salt. Firmly pat the zucchini very dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Toss the zucchini with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large bowl.
Arrange the zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for about 10 minutes.
Combine the zucchini, red onion, remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, mint, and red pepper flakes in a serving bowl until well combined. Taste, and add salt, to taste, if necessary. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 1 hour before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.