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X-Planations: Westchester Chef Peter X. Kelly Praises Stew Leonard

Chef Peter X. Kelly with Stew Leonard.
Chef Peter X. Kelly with Stew Leonard. Photo Credit: Submitted

This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday.

YONKERS, N.Y. -- I was recently visiting my friend Stew Leonard of the Stew Leonard Stores. Stew runs five of the greatest food stores in the tristate area as well as nine wine and spirit stores that happen to carry my favorite Slovenia Vodka.

Stew Leonard’s has been called “the Disneyland of Dairy stores” and has been lauded for its excellence in customer service. However for me the thing that really makes Stew Leonard’s great is its CEO Stew who truly hand selects nearly every item on display at his stores.

At our last meeting he was so excited to have me taste the newest batch of pistachios he was working with his supplier on. He explained that he wanted a deeper toasted flavor on the nuts than is customary, so he was working to achieve the perfect roasting time on these jumbo pistachios. It is this sort of commitment to the products he sells whether it be the dairy, hand cut butcher shop, in house bakery or the more than 50 culinary people he employees that prepare the foods presented at his buffet bar that makes Stew Leonard’s the success that it is.

At Stew’s office in Connecticut I also noticed what a good purveyor of fish he is. On a wall behind his desk was mounted the largest lobster I've ever seen and I thought I just had to share the picture with you.

You should visit Stew Leonard’s in Yonkers and perhaps pick up a lobster or two, I’ve included a recipe for my lobster crepe which you will love.

Lobster Crepe with Mascarpone & Chives

For Crepe Batter

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 12 ounces milk
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 3 Tbsp, melted butter, melted
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • Vegetable spray

Method:

  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Using a wire whisk mix ingredients well, being sure to scrape bottom and sides of bowl.
  • When mixture is smooth pour through a fine mesh strainer.
  • Allow batter to rest one hour
  • Using a nonstick pan lightly coat bottom of pan with vegetable spray.
  • Heat pan till very hot but not smoking.
  • Pour a small amount of batter into pan and tilt pan to cover bottom of pan with batter completely.
  • Allow to brown on one side (40-50 seconds)
  • Carefully turn crepe to other side and allow to brown
  • Slide crepe out of pan and repeat with remaining batter.
  • Cover crepes with plastic wrap and set aside.

For Lobster Mixture

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole lobsters
  • ¼ cup chives, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Shallots, finely minced
  • ½ cup Mascarpone
  • Salt & ground white pepper

Method:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
  • Plunge lobsters into boiling water and cook for 6 minutes.
  • Prepare an ice bath.
  • When cooked remove lobsters from water and place in ice bath.
  • When cool, remove meat from lobster.
  • Cut lobster meat into small dice and place in mixing bowl.
  • Add mascarpone, shallots, chives, salt and pepper to lobster and gently mix.
  • Place a crepe on a buttered sheet pan and place a generous spoonful of filling in center.
  • Wrap crepe around filling to form a pouch.
  • Turn crepe over and sit on seam side.
  • Brush crepe with melted butter and heat in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Serve crepe with a small salad.

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