On Cape Cod, adventurous chef James Hackney of the Wequassett Inn gives a surprising twist to a classic lobster dish.
In coastal New England, lobster is a point of pride for many chefs; they either prepare it simply or else go overboard to showcase their culinary talents. Chef James Hackney of the Wequassett Inn in Chatham, on MasachusettsÂ’s Cape Cod, considers his lobsters to be somewhere in between and offers up a brilliant and inspired rendition of this Yankee classic.
Hackney, who presides over the resortÂ’s premier restaurant, twenty-eight Atlantic, says that he was inspired to create this dish to reach out to a broader audience. Â“Lobster is a huge part of the Cape, and I thought that infusing a twist on the classic dish would satisfy and excite all levels of diners,Â” he says.
Previously the executive chef at LÂ’Espalier in Boston, Hackney believes that working on the Cape has helped his cooking style to become more relaxed and free flowing. Â“The ocean plays a big part when it comes to the sheer variety of seafood I can play with, which I feel helps to keep the cuisine light and refreshing,Â” he says. Â—Lisa Rogak
4 1Â½-lb. lobsters, steamed and cooled
Carrot and Lentil PurÃ©e
3 lbs. organic carrots, peeled and diced
4 oz. red lentils
2 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
6 oz. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. salt
Place carrots, lentils, juice, ginger, butter, and salt in a large stockpot, with enough water to cover. Cook until carrots are tender. Drain. Pour into a food processor and pulse until blended into a purÃ©e.
Cashew Coconut Curry
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 c. raw cashews
2 15-oz. cans coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaves
Â½ bunch cilantro, chopped
Heat curry powder in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the powder starts to brown, add the cashews. Stir constantly until cashews brown. Remove from heat and place in a large glass bowl, reserving one tablespoon. Pour in coconut milk, add kaffir lime leaves, and soak overnight. The next day, place in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in cilantro. Pour into a food processor and pulse until blended into a purÃ©e.
Carrot Thai Slaw
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick-size pieces
Â½ small daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchstick-size pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Handful of Thai basil leaves
Handful of mint leaves
Handful of cilantro leaves
Â½ tsp. black sesame seeds
Â½ tbsp. sesame oil
Juice of two limes
1 tbsp. crushed, toasted cashews
Place carrot, radish, scallion, basil, mint, cilantro, cashews, and black sesame seeds in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir the oil and lime juice together to blend. Add to the vegetables and toss to coat thoroughly. To serve: Place a spoonful of carrot puree in the center of each of four plates. Arrange the lobster over the carrot puree, top with the slaw, and spoon the cashew puree around the lobster.