Love and Lobster

This past weekend I attended a wedding in the Bush-friendly, resort town of Kennebunkport, Maine. From the start it had all the signs of a great wedding: beautiful weather, picturesque seaside setting, great friends, and boatloads of crustaceans. Based on my current state - complete exhaustion, a sore scalp from bobby pin torture, and freshly scraped knee - the weekend was a great success. Before you all start making assumptions of debauchery, I'll have you know that I scraped my knee pre-cocktails, thanks to a graceful digger off the top step of our trolley. Luckily our photographer came prepared for such occasions with an ample supply of tissues and a flask of Jim Beam. Can't take me anywhere.
The highlight of the weekend, besides the beautiful display of true love and vows of holy matrimony, was, of course, the food. Lobster to be exact. Lobster salad, lobster rolls, lobster bisque, lobster quiche, lobster pot pies and of course, steamed whole lobster.  I was one bite away from having to use the Jaws of Life to get out of my bridesmaid's dress - and it was totally worth it. I'm a little embarrassed to admit my favorite dish of the weekend. I'd feel better about myself had it been the steamed lobster in all it's delicious simplicity. Instead I choose arguably the most complex, diluted and undoubtedly gluttonous version: the Lobster Pot Pie. Imagine taking something as rich as lobster meat, adding butter and cream and then topping it off with a freshly baked biscuit. A bit much? Maybe. But not for me. It was the first thing I'd eaten all day and I still had blood pouring down my shin. Perhaps context is everything, but suffice it to say I was a very happy girl. Never one to be shy, I shoved the biscuit rather crudely down into my soup - and voila! - a giant, lobster soaked crouton. My knee stopped hurting immediately.
That's not to say there were any real losers this weekend. I generally enjoyed every single bite of lobster I had, whatever the form. But I wasn't the only critic in town. The Travel Channel was in Kennebunkport filming their hit show: Food Wars. The contenders were the dueling lobster rolls from The Clam Shack and Alison's. The show's official winner won't be announced until later in the season, but for those sitting at the edge of their seat, our wedding party did it's own extensive research and crowned The Clam Shack as favorite, finding Alison's too mayo-y for our liking.

Back home in NY, we have a similar food war going on. Where can one buy the best lobster roll? Pearl Oyster Bar? Mary's Fish Camp? Luke's? Ed's? Montauk is battling it out too: should I go to Duryea's or Lunch? And though I too have my favorites (Mary's and Duryeas's - no contest), lobster is meant to be loved, not judged and I will have a big, fat smile on my face wherever I am.
Speaking of love and lobster, my fellow bridesmaid and long time friend has a tradition of preparing this Lobster Cobb Salad with her boyfriend every Valentines Day (salad for dinner, how L.A. of you two). He kills the crustaceans, she chops the veggies. Ain't that cute. Since I am moving to Cali in a mere 15 days, I figure it's time to lay off the pot pie's and embrace my new culture. When in Rome:

Lobster Cobb Salad: (Serves 4-6)
For the Vinaigrette:
  • 1.5T Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (apprx 2 lemons)
  • 5T good olive oil
  • 3/4t kosher salt
  • 1/2t freshly ground black pepper
For the Salad
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1.5lbs cooked lobster meat, cut in 3/4" dice
  • 1.5t kosher salt
  • 1/2t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2lb lean bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 3/4 cup crumbled English Stilton, or other crumbly blue cheese
  • 1 bunch arugula, washed and spun dry
  1. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. For the salad, cut avocados in half, remove the seed, and peel. Dice into 3/4 inch pieces and toss with lemon juice. 
  3. If the arugula leaves are large, tear into smaller pieces.
  4. Put the lobster and tomatoes in a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and toss with enough vinaigrette to moisten. 
  5. Add the diced avocado, crumbled bacon, blue cheese and arugula and toss again. Serve at room temperature.
Post bobby pins and startin' to feel the knee again...
I think I'm going to need more lobster,
- The Heat


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