Geoffrey Zakarian Reveals Perfect Lobster Roll
by scott feldman
If you think managing chefs for a living is hard work, try standing up for one at his wedding. I’ve known Geoffrey Zakarian for 15 years and, being as meticulous about style as he is about food, my palate and closet are all the better for it. The newly appointed Iron Chef and Chopped judge makes summer chic with fresh local ingredients, a round at the National, and a good cigar.
What first inspired you to cook?
GEOFFREY ZAKARIAN: My voracious appetite.
What gets you out East with a clear mind?
GZ: Two Partagás Serie D No. 4 Cuban cigars.
What’s your favorite thing about golf?
GZ: I would like to be buried outside of the 18th tee at The National in Southampton. I’d say the camaraderie is the absolute best—having that time to share with people you love is what it’s all about.
What’s your fondest East End summer memory?
GZ: Winning the semifinal for Next Iron Chef last year by cooking seafood outside at the Montauk Yacht Club.
What is the secret ingredient for a great summer dinner party?
GZ: The invitation list.
4 lobsters, 1 1⁄2 pounds each
4 brioche hot dog buns
Salted butter, as needed to toast the buns
1 recipe Lobster Butter*
1 recipe Mayo Mustard*
1 bunch chives, chopped
2 lemons, quartered
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Prepare a bath of icy water. Kill the lobsters by placing them on their backs on a cutting board and inserting a knife tip into their heads between the antennae. Drop the lobsters in the boiling water for 20 seconds, and immediately shock them in the ice bath to stop the cooking.
Extract the tail, claw, and knuckle meat from the lobsters. The meat will still be translucent and raw. Remove the vein from each lobster’s tail, and dice the meat into bite-size chunks. Prepare the Lobster Butter, and put into a saucepan over very low heat. Add the lobster meat to the Lobster Butter. Very slowly warm the meat until it is just barely cooked through. Be sure to agitate the pan frequently to prevent the Lobster Butter from breaking. If it starts to break, sprinkle it with a few drops of cold water and take it off the heat for a moment.
In a sauté pan, toast the sides of the bun with butter until crispy and golden. Spoon the cooked lobster meat into the prepared buns. Add as much Lobster Butter as desired. Drizzle the lobster rolls with Mayo Mustard, and sprinkle liberally with chives. Serve with lemon wedges.
1 tsp. Coleman's Mustard Powder
2 tsp. water
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
Combine mustard powder, water, and lemon juice and whisk together with Dijon, mayonnaise, and salt to taste.
1 large shallot, chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. black peppercorn
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup medium diced sweet cream butter
fresh lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, reduce wine and Champagne vinegar with thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns until the mixture is nearly dry. Add cream and reduce by two-thirds. Decrease the heat to low and gradually whisk in butter, stirring to melt as added. Remove from heat and season with fresh lemon juice and salt to taste. Strain through a fine mesh or chinois to serve.