by Norman Van Aken | March 20, 2017

Spiny Lobster Hash Cakes by Chef Norman Van Aken

1921’s Spiny Lobster Hash Cake; Photography by Debi Harbin

1921’s Spiny Lobster Hash Cake; Photography by Debi Harbin


Serves 8

Piccalilli Tartar Sauce

Yield: 4 cups
  • 6 raw egg yolks
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons Piccalilli Relish (or other favorite pickle relish)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs (yolks pushed through a sieve, whites minced)
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

PREPARATION: Put raw egg yolks in a mixer and beat until pale. This takes a few minutes, so be patient. Add olive and canola oils very slowly until they are all incorporated, adding each vinegar a few drops at a time to help balance the emulsification. When oils and vinegars are well incorporated, remove bowl from mixer. Pour mixture into a bowl and add Piccalilli Relish and onion. Stir in lemon juice, mustard and Tabasco. Stir in hard-cooked eggs. Season to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Piccalilli Relish

Yield: 5 cups
  • 1 1/2 pounds green tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

PREPARATION: Toss tomatoes, onion, celery and bell peppers in a large bowl with salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours. Transfer vegetables to a strainer and press gently to extract excess juice; discard now-salty juices. Transfer vegetables to a 6-quart saucepan and add all remaining ingredients. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer relish to a bowl and let cool. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Spiny Lobster Hash Cakes

Yield: 8 hash cakes
  • 1 pound spiny (or other) cooked lobster meat or peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped into small to medium size pieces
  • 10 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 10 ounces boniato sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped cross-wise (only some of the green   included)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 egg yolks, stirred
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne kosher salt and cracked black pepper canola oil for sautéing

PREPARATION: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put potatoes and boniato in a pot with enough water to cover them and bring to a simmer. Simmer until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and put in refrigerator to chill.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add butter. When it foams, add onion, scallions and garlic, stirring to coat, and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add basil, cilantro, and thyme and let cool slightly, then transfer vegetable and herb mixture to a large bowl and let cool completely. Mix in egg yolks and cayenne, and add salt and black pepper to taste. Shred potatoes and boniato on large holes of a box grater. Combine potatoes and boniato with egg, vegetable, and herb mixture. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Add lobster meat. Put 1/2 cup of mash into a ring mold (or form with your hands) to shape. Slide ring mold off and continue until you have made all the cakes, putting them on a plate. Chill cakes in the refrigerator to allow them to set. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add a little canola oil. Sauté hash cakes until golden brown and crispy on each side. (Start cooking cakes in heatproof ring molds, to keep them formed while they crisp.) Turn them gently. Transfer to oven and bake until cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve warm with Piccalilli Tartar Sauce.