By Karen Akunowicz [Editor’s note: Vote for Karen for Top Chef Fan Favorite!]
LJ and I got married twice. I always say that is how much I love my spouse. I wanted a city hall ceremony a la Carrie Bradshaw, and LJ wanted to marry me in front of all of our friends and family. So, we got married two times in three days. Best part? Two dresses.
The first time we got married at Boston City Hall, and the second time on a lavender farm in Mid-Coast Maine. We are lucky enough to have a family home in that area, and it is a place that has been very special in our relationship. One-hundred of our friends and family came to spend the weekend with us, and we really wanted them to have a “Maine experience.” For me, a great deal of this was about the food.
We were incredibly lucky to find an amazing caterer — Dandelion Catering — who made beautiful, thoughtful (read: not-your-average), locally sourced food for our wedding. We got married in late May, and had a menu full of local Maine fish, an abundance of spring vegetables, and my obsession — Maine lobster.
This recipe is inspired by my favorite hors d’oeuvre at our wedding, but with my own Asian-inspired twist.
Lobster BLT Sliders with Arugula & Cilantro Lime Aioli
Yields 24 sliders.
What You Need:
2 each 1½ lb. lobsters
1 garlic clove, grated
2 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
½ cup cilantro leaves
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
24 each slider buns (these should be small, 1-2 bites!)
2 cups clean arugula
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 each heirloom tomatoes (cherry tomatoes work well too)
6 slices thick cut Applewood smoked bacon
¼ cup sweet soy sauce
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
To cook the lobsters, fill a large pot with water, and bring to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the live lobsters. Cover, and cook for 9 minutes. Drain the lobsters, and let cool. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the tails and claws, then very coarsely chop. You should have between 1 2/3 and 1 3/4 cups of meat. Set aside in a medium bowl.
On a cookie sheet, lay out the bacon and brush with the sweet soy sauce. Place in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes until crisp. The soy sauce will caramelize and the bacon will be amazing! When cool, cut each slice into 4 pieces.
In a food processor or blender, add garlic, egg yolks, lime juice, salt, mustard, and cilantro. Process on high until the mixture is bright green. Next, starting with a few drops at a time, add the canola oil to the blender while it is running until all oil is incorporated and the mixture is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the aioli is too thick, add 1 or 2 drops of water.
Slice your tomatoes into thin rounds, and season with salt and pepper.
Place the arugula in a bowl, and dress with one teaspoon lemon juice, one teaspoon of olive oil, and a sprinkle of kosher salt. (Undressed lettuce is the worst!)
Fold in 3 tablespoons of the aïoli to the lobster to lightly dress the shellfish. Season with salt and pepper. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours if not making the BLTs at once.
To assemble a BLT: slice and lightly toast the bun with a little butter or olive oil. Divide the bacon, dressed arugula, tomato slices, and lobster salad between the 24 bun bottoms, and finish with the top bun and a toothpick!
+Find out more about Karen and LJ’s love story and wedding here.