Daniel Kessler of Interpol on How to Cook Simply

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For Interpol guitarist Daniel Kessler, a love of food didn’t come naturally. "As a kid I was never into food…it was more of a fear of food, so I've come full circle, completely to the other side of things. Six or seven years ago, I became food curious then I dove in pretty damn deep."

It was out of necessity, he explains, that his love of sitting down to a great meal began. "I've lived in New York City for 20 years, and after a while you can only be in a bar until 4 a.m. too long. You'll want to expand horizons. I realized [food] was an area I hadn't explored, and then I got really into it. It was like discovering a whole other dimension that I hadn’t taken advantage of. I’m a bit of an obsessive person with it." Between that and eating on-the-go meals that are a staple of any touring musician's diet, Kessler wanted something more. 


The result is the two-year-old trendy seafood spot Bergen Hill in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn. After years of investing in hip East Village bars, Kessler decided to join forces with friend Ravi DeRossi for the perfect pescatarian joint.

It's a small, kitchen-less space, so guests can expect mostly raw, light fare. One of the best (note: uncomplicated) dishes is the Lobster Toast, a solid alternative to a buttery Lobster Roll. As Kessler says, "It has a real lightness to it. It starts the party right."

Bergen Hill's Lobster Toast

Ingredients 

  • 6 pieces of sourdough bread, sliced
  • 3 1½ lbs lobsters
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced small
  • 2 shallots, diced small
  • ½ granny smith apples, peeled, diced small
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, diced small
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch of tarragon
  • 2 heart of palm
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 pinch of flake salt

Directions

Cooking the Lobster

  1. Remove claws and tail from Lobster bodies and discard bodies
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and season with salt
  3. Large claw cooks in boiling water for 5 ½ min then remove
  4. Small claw cooks for 5 min then remove
  5. Tail cooks for 3 ½ min then remove
  6. Let lobster cool and then remove and discard the shells 

For the salad (ie: the toast’s spread layer)

  1. Chop the claw and knuckle meat
  2. Mix lobster meat w/ dill, apple, mayo, mustard, jalapeno, shallot, celery, lemon zest, and juice from 1 lemon
  3. Season with salt and pepper 

For the tarragon oil 

  1. Pick the tarragon from the stem
  2. Place in blender with canola oil and blend until smooth
  3. Place in a sauce pot and heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture separates and turns bright green
  4. Pass through strainer w/ cheese cloth and cool immediately

For the hearts of palm

  1. Slice hearts of palm into rounds 5cm thick
  2. In a small sauce pot, heat white wine vinegar, sugar, water, and a pinch of salt to a boil
  3. Pour the water over sliced hearts of palm (container or bowl) and let cool, over night is best 

Assembly

  1. Cut lobster tails into 8 to 10 pieces and toss in a bowl with sliced pickled hearts of palm, 1 tbsp tarragon oil, salt, pepper, chives, and lemon juice
  2. Toast bread with olive oil
  3. Spread lobster salad atop toasted bread
  4. Place lobster tails on top of the salad — Wah-lah!

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