One of my favorite things to do in Santa Barbara in the wintertime, especially around the holidays, is to host an afternoon Lobster Brunch as Pacific Lobster is in season. We recently did this to celebrate Gregg’s December birthday. We prepared Barbecued Lobster with Chipotle Macaroni and CheeseThis is a fantastic combination as the Chipotle in the Mac and Cheese really offsets the Lobster nicely. Just forget about calories and cholesterol for the afternoon! Throw in some Caviar while your at it. Make sure to prepare a beautiful Green Salad with lots of colorful veggies, it will plate beautifully by providing contrasting color and give your guests the illusion that there is actually something healthy on their plate.
Even if you don’t live in Santa Barbara find a great Shellfish company in your area that will prepare lobster for you to take away, cleaned and prepped ready for cooking because it takes all the work out of the preparation. Just be careful not to overcook the Lobster. Use a large spoon to “baste” the lobsters while shell side down on the grill. Squeeze lemon over the lobsters as well. Flesh side down for only a couple of minutes and use tongs to rotate them back on their shells careful to not pull flesh out of shell because it may stick to the grill. More butter and lemon then when done, serve hot.
Start with a really nice prosciutto thinly sliced wrapped around a ripe slice of melon. This makes a beautiful preparation that can be prepared in advance and set on the table prior to quests arriving. It takes patience to pull the slices of prosciutto apart without tearing them, but it will make for a more pleasing “wrap” on the cantaloupe.
If you really want to be decadent and generous with your friends prior to seating, serve Champagne and Caviar with appropriate condiments. We like to serve caviar with diced onion, sour cream (or creme fraiche) egg yoke diced, egg white diced and blinis to pile it all on to. Everyone plows through this elegant presentation in about 30 seconds. Please make sure that you purchase Farmed Caviar, this is a link to a great New York Times article sourcing farmed caviar for us in the Dining & Wine.
My day started out at the The Santa Barbara Shellfish Co., on Stearn’s Wharf where I had called in an order for 10, 1.5lb lobsters to be cleaned and prepared for grilling. They always give you clarified butter and lemon wedges to go as well, this saves so much time. The city had erected a beautiful Christmas tree on the wharf.
A stately California Brown Pelican just outside the restaurant.