When Corbie was eight years old, she used to hang around the smoke-filled green room in the theater wing of my college, where her mother taught students about the world of musical comedy. I suppose we baby sat Corbie in a way, so naturally we all tortured this precocious, tousled-haired little girl. She recently turned 30 and now I find myself friends with a successful, slyly beautiful, talented young woman. To celebrate in our way, Baby and I made her dinner headlining our own creation, flaming Crepes Corbie. Think of a savory Suzette, with lobster (we are both from New England, of course) with vanilla chive sauce, brown butter, pearls of salmon roe and of course, Cognac.
I set a reasonable table for the three of us during the day with these outrageous tall stems that dangled sprouted pods from the top as a centerpiece, and other autumnal branches that had delicate orange and yellow flowers, reflective of our petite pumpkins and ghoulish gourds.
Baby made the stacks of crepes ahead of time as well. To make the thin pancakes, a basic recipe can be found here. And always throw the first one out for luck!
About an hour or so before our guest of honor arrived, we started to saute the lobster shells (from the reserved lobster meat) in butter and wilt the leeks, carrots, celery and tarragon chiffonade in prep for the vanilla chive lobster sauce. This requires heavy cream and I forgot to buy it, but you know what? You forge on (and don't tell anybody your dish didn't come out the way you wanted it to be). The end result was still pretty tasty, just thinner, and well, less fattening too.
We made the scallion mashed potatoes ahead of time too, and quickly microwaved our bag of haricots verts with almonds from FreshDirect, as we reheated the potatoes later and topped them with lump crab before serving.
When we all sat down to dinner (after a few glasses of rose, which turned into a few more) we enjoyed a wonderful salad composed of mesclun greens, Napa cabbage, Mandarin orange segments and toasted brioche croutons tossed with a silky shiitake and sesame dressing, courtesy of Annie's, which frankly could be served with a straw.
The Crepes Corbie were a delight to make, as we rolled up three at a time in a buttery saute pan, with the lobster tucked inside. Then we added about a quarter cup of Cognac, removed from the heat and lit the whole thing on fire! A note: before the flames rapidly die down, the dish should be presented theatrically to the table (at a distance) and served once the incendiary crepes are quite out.
We had yellow cupcakes with vanilla frosting for dessert. After all, whatever our age, I hope we are still children at heart.
After weathering a soul-shredding career as a theatrical agent that lasted entirely too long, Mr. Sherwood left his stable of actors from the stage and screen and went on to pursue his literary aspirations. He is currently the dining editor for Next magazine (nextmagazine.com) where he writes a weekly restaurant review column which also features Manhattan's best food and drink recipes from the finest chef's and bartenders on the island. In 2010 he was published in Foodista’s Best of Food Blogs Cookbook. He toiled as web editor for industry leader Interior Design magazine for several years and has also written for New York magazine, Travel & Leisure and Woman’s Day.
A proud graduate of the University of New Hampshire, one of the nation’s top drinking schools, Mr. Sherwood also studied voice and theater abroad at Regent’s College, in London’s historic Regent’s Park, and at the Royal Academy of Music. He spent a year at Hunter College in Manhattan.
Mr. Sherwood recently published his first novel, the pale of memory, available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and iUniverse.com. He is in the midst of writing a second.
Twitter/tweet/twat him @kaleidabox