THE NFL SEASON kicks off on Sept. 7 in Foxborough, Mass., and the 8:30 p.m. start of the game between the Chiefs and the Patriots means that the official NFL tailgating season will begin that afternoon. What should football fans cook if they're attending the game or simply want to celebrate the return of pro football with a touch of New England fare? Chef Tiffani Faison, who has lived in the Boston area since 2004, suggests her lobster tacos.
"It has all those chowdery flavors," she says, "and it's reminiscent of the area. It's like a clam bake in a taco shell." Faison, who made the dish for a Pats game last year—it was quickly cleaned out—especially likes it for tailgates because most of the ingredients can be prepared in advance, then warmed on the grill. And it's flexible. "If you prefer crab or oysters instead of lobster, you can just switch those out," she says.
Faison, a sports fan who runs two restaurants in the shadow of Fenway Park, thinks the seafood dish is perfect for the season when baseball and football overlap. "It's a nice way to bridge the end of summer into fall," she says.
LOBSTER TACOS (SERVES 2)
4 flour tortillas
1½ pounds of lobster
¼ cup butter
1 cup fresh corn kernels
¼ pound Mexican hard chorizo, minced
2 tablespoons minced chives
¼ cup minced shallots
1/3 cup Kewpie mayo
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 BOIL THE LOBSTER
Bring one gallon of salted water to a boil. Cook the lobster for about six minutes, then shock it in ice water. Remove meat from the shell, chop it into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
2 FLAVOR THE MAYO
In a small bowl, mix the mayo and the Old Bay. Set aside.
3 COOK THE CHORIZO
Render the meat in a sauté pan on medium heat until crispy, then remove from the pan. Add the corn kernels and the shallots, and cook in the chorizo fat for two minutes. Remove from the heat and add chives. (All previous steps can be done in advance.)
4 HEAT THE LOBSTER
Brown the butter in a clean sauté pan. When the butter is foamy, add the lobster and cook for two minutes.
5 ASSEMBLE THE TACO
Warm the tortillas, put the desired amount of mayo in the bottom of the tortilla, add the lobster meat and top with the corn mixture. Enjoy with a cold beer.
Tiffani Faison is the chef/owner of Sweet Cheeks Q and Tiger Mama. She was runner-up on the first season of Top Chef, and she's a guest judge on this season's Chopped Grill Masters.