Everybody loves a club sandwich — if it’s a lobster one, even better. But to make sure we brought something new to the pressed-and-creased world of club sandwiches, my crack (addicted) team of cultural anthropologists, market-research analysts, and focus groups got together and determined that the best way to inject a little ethnic fire into the beloved sandwich was to fuse it with that bastardized Chinese suburban specialty: shrimp toast! But since this is a lobster sandwich, we swapped one crustacean for the other, and thus a new American classic was born.
For the sambal aïoli
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 small cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups Grapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Sambal
For the lobster toast
- 4 cups peanut oil
- 1 cup parcooked lobster meat
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon MSG
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups sparkling water
- 4 slices Pepperidge Farm white bread, crusts removed
To finish the sandwiches
- 8 tablespoons (one stick) unsalted butter
- 2 1 1/2-pound lobsters, parcooked and meat removed from shells
- 12 slices bacon
- 8 slices Pepperidge Farm white bread, lightly toasted
- 8 teaspoons sambal aioli
- 2 heads Boston or bibb lettuce, the best inner leaves only
- 4 slices medium gorgeous heirloom tomato, about 1/4 inch thick
For the sambal aïoli:
- Put the egg yolk and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse, using a rubber spatula to scrape any yolk that gets stuck to the sides of the processor back toward the blades, until smooth.
- Then puree, slowly adding the oil while the machine is running until the aïoli has emulsified. Add the vinegar and lime juice and process to combine. Season with salt to taste and stir in the sambal. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to use.
For the lobster toast:
- Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a deep heavy pan over medium-high heat to 375°F (measured on a deep-frying thermometer).
- In a food processor, pulse the parcooked lobster meat, fish sauce, MSG, 2 tablespoons of the all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper until a paste forms.
- In a bowl, whisk together the rice flour and the remaining all-purpose flour. Season it with salt and pepper. Then add the sparkling water, starting with 1 cup, whisking to incorporate evenly and ensure there are no lumps. Whisk in up to 1/2 cup more sparkling water if necessary to obtain the consistency of a slightly watery pancake batter.
- Spread the lobster paste evenly over each piece of bread, all the way to theedges. The coating should be 1/4 inch thick. Working with one piece at a time, dip the lobster-smeared bread into the batter and coat fully, shaking off the excess.
- Carefully add each piece to the hot oil and fry, flipping once, until golden and crisp on both sides, about 3 minutes total. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and season with salt.
To make the sandwiches:
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and 1/2 cup water over low heat, whisking until the butter has completely emulsified. Cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise. Add the tails to the butter mixture and poach gently until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a plate and gently poach the claws until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, return the tails to the liquid, and set the pan to the side.
- In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until brown and crisp, then transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Cut the cooked bacon slices to fit perfectly on the bread and eat the trimmings.
- Trim the crusts from the toasted white bread. Spread each slice with 2 teaspoons of the sambal aïoli. Top each of four of the slices with a few lettuce leaves, a slice of tomato, a slice of lobster toast, and 3 slices of bacon. Put half a lobster tail and a whole claw on each stack. Top with the remaining toasted white bread, slice each sandwich diagonally, and serve immediately.
More recipes from Zakary Pelaccio at Food Republic:
And don't forget to check out his column, Alimentary Canal.