There is an Italian in me. Every time I step to a grill with a bowl of very lightly oiled peppers or chiles, he steps out and happily does this hot, slow, but soul-satisfying chore. To be sure, roasting peppers can be done while you do three or four other things, for they do not require constant attention. Yet he stands there and watches the variegated flesh turn to charcoal, blister, and wrinkle. Satisfied once the peppers are tucked under a towel in a bowl, the Italian goes back inside and leaves me the second half of the task-peeling them!
1. In a sauté pan, heat butter until slightly foamy. Add the shallots and then the lobster. Turn the meat from time to time until it is cooked through. Season lightly, add the vinegar, and reduce for 30 seconds. Add the cream, stir, and then, using a slotted spoon, remove the lobster to a plate.
2. Reduce the cream until thick and strain it into a bowl.
3. Put the nuts into a food processor and pulse twice. Now add the lobster and pulse twice. Add the cilantro and pulse. Now, with the machine running, quickly add the strained cream. Turn machine off, scrape this mixture into a bowl, and chill. (It is important not to overprocess the mixture. If need be, scrape the processed lobster mixture into a bowl and then stir in the cream, entirely omitting processing the cream.)
4. When the mix is cold, add the diced avocado and gently mix. Season to taste. (The poblano is somewhat spicy, so remember, when you are seasoning the lobster stuffing mixture, to allow for the heat that the chile will bring to the final dish.)
5. Carefully slit open the peppers and cut out the area under the stem that holds the majority of the seeds. Try to keep the chile from ripping. Stuff the poblanos with the lobster mixture and chill.
6. Prepare the sauce: In a small, heavy saucepan reduce orange juice, vinegar, shallots, bay leaf, and black pepper until almost evaporated. Add the cream and reduce to 1/2 to 3/4 cup and then gradually whisk in the pieces of butter until incorporated. Strain sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a pot or bowl and keep in a warm place.
7. Put the stuffed poblanos on a lightly oiled baking sheet and heat them through in a preheated 350-degree oven. This should take 10 minutes or less.
8. Spoon the warm sauce onto warm plates and top with the poblanos. Serve.
This is a full-flavored dish, with complex combinations of hot, sweet. tart, and rich. A fairly full-bodied white with some tart acidity, such as a Gavi dei Gavi or Alsace Gewurtztraminer would be appropriate.
Feast of Sunlight
by Norman Van Aken
The Harvard Common Press
Reprinted by permission.
Norman Van Aken: A Chef In His Own Words
The Pre-Chef by Norman Van Aken
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