Archives for posts with tag: uni

ever have a huge lobster dinner party with so many leftover shells it seems silly to just throw them away? probably not…or at least not very often. i was fortunate enough to be invited to such a party at my friend’s house this past fall. her husband caught the crustaceans himself, along with more uni (sea urchin) than i’d ever seen at any sushi bar. after gorging ourselves on so many of these california spinys we were bursting at the seams, there were a few leftover, and piles of shells. they sent me home with a bag of shells and a whole lobster! i had bisque on the brain…but first, the stock:

i had never made a lobster stock before, so i started with the fish stock recipe from the weston a. price foundation article ‘broth is beautiful’ and added in a few things of my own.


  • 4-6 lobster shells
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 7 celery stalks
  • 1 cup fennel tops, chopped rough
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 7 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp thyme, several sprigs
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp coarse hannapepe salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

note: if your lobsters were grilled, clean the shells of any excessively charred parts.

melt the butter in a large stock pot with the onions, carrots, celery, and fennel. cook until softened a bit. add the tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, thyme, bay, garlic and lobster shells. toss with softened veggies. add sherry and wine and let cook for about 5 minutes.

cover with cold filtered water, add salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. reduce heat to a simmer for 2-3 hours.

using a slotted spoon discard the largest pieces of shell.

then pour the rest through some cheese cloth lining a colander or mesh strainer. press down on the bits to exude any remaining juices.

chill overnight in the fridge. skim any fat off the top.

divide broth into different sized plastic containers in order to freeze and use in the future.

some ideas on how to use your hearty and flavorful lobster stock:

i did end up making lobster bisque, and it turned out fine…

…but since then i had the pleasure of having tom colicchio‘s version at craftsteak in las vegas, and i am now on a mission to recreate his. so, until then i’m not going to waste your time with my recipe when i know there is a better one out there…and by better, i mean absolute perfection and fantastic. i would be ashamed and embarrassed to post my meager recipe.

i did make a thai-style soup recently, inspired by my fellow food blogging friend spencer h. gray’s post on his blog omnivorous, using lobster stock, baby bok choy and shrimp, plus many of the ingredients he has listed.

considering i have never made a risotto, why not try a bivalve risotto made with lobster stock? i’m thinking mussels and clams from the oyster boys at the hollywood farmers market are in my near future.

note: since posting this i did make a wild mushroom risotto with lobster stock and it was lovely.


i am a snob about many things food related, but i put sushi at the top of that list. i could easily eat sushi for every meal (even breakfast), but i pass when it is offered at catering, or see it pre-packaged at grocery stores. the problem being is that i was introduced to really good sushi early on, and i can’t go back. i started eating sushi regularly when i moved to california. for the first few years i lived above a sushi place called shin. i was uber-broke, but my friend harve would treat me whenever he had the hankering. this is the first place i had uni, and fell in love with it. harve really influenced me to move beyond rolls so slathered in sauces that you couldn’t taste the fish. if the fish is good, you don’t need anything to make it taste delicious.

when i started working a lot and had money, i became addicted, and was going sometimes 2-3 times a week. this was around the time i met my friend mara, who lived near me and shared my love of sushi. we started going to tama in studio city weekly, if not more. we even became friends with our sushi chef kenji. there was a night that we got him so drunk off sake and asahi that his rainbow roll looked sad and pathetic. that is not to say he isn’t an amazing chef. some of my best meals have come from kenji. he once made a king crab roll with a grapefruit ponzu sauce that is on my ‘best dish ever’ list. sadly, kenji moved on to a place in encino and i moved downtown, so it’s not often i get to experience his talent.

thankfully, i live right next to little tokyo in downtown los angeles, so i am within blocks of some amazing sushi. r23 is my favorite.

unlike many good sushi restaurants, r23 has good art on their brick walls, chairs designed by frank gehry, and for some reason there is always a seat at the sushi bar. the first time i came to r23 was before i lived downtown. i was working around the corner, and i had given up on our caterer, so i ordered some take out. i was hooked. i often order yellowtail belly from a new place in order to judge whether or not they have good fish, and their’s was like butter.

tonight was no different. i was so excited to eat their yellowtail i forgot to take a picture before digging in, so that is why there is only one piece, and you can’t quite see it glisten, like butter does when it is warm.

yellowtail belly



new zealand oysters


red snapper

red snapper

spanish mackerel

spanish mackerel

i always finish with uni, and ask them to put a little shiso leaf underneath. it’s my dessert.


it was absolutely delicious. nutty and creamy with a touch of citrus. perfect.

my chef tonight was the very same when i came my first time years ago. he declined when i offered to buy him a beer, so i’m not sure we will be chums like kenji and i, but he does make beautiful works of art just the same.

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