Hello, blog! I'm back. Did you miss me? Because I sure missed you. Are there any readers left out there? I missed you guys, too. It was a hectic March, and between work and family obligations, I just never seemed to find the time to give my little blog the attention it deserved over the last few weeks. Is it really April already? Seriously? Wow, time does fly when you're... um, working a lot. Okay, and having a little fun, too.
Case in point - the shindig we attended recently at which lobster rolls were the star attraction. A couple of friends are east coast transplants, and this was the second of an (almost) annual "lobster fest" they host in the lush yard of their big urban house here in northern California.
The afternoon had all the makings of a great outdoor party. The beautiful spring weather - sunny, cool breeze - put everyone in a happy mood. Even better, there were lots of good friends...
lots of kids and babies...
and beautiful young moms.
Oh, and some pretty darn great food, too.
I really don't know if chicken tenders and tater tots are traditional New England lobster-fest fare, but you know what? It totally worked. Besides, you gotta love a guy who sets up a deep-fryer on his patio for the afternoon.
Unfortunately, I did not get a single photo of the hostess with her new baby. Nor did I get any photos of the incredibly fresh green salad with a dressing so good, my daughter had two helpings. Nor the piping hot steamed clams in the most delicious broth. I did manage to snap a few pics of the lobster rolls, however. And those things? Oh. Man.
I'd heard of lobster rolls before, but until our friends' party, I honestly didn't understand what all the fuss was about. I mean, lobster on a hot dog bun? Huh? Why? Like I said, I didn't get it.
Well, let me fill you in on the details. Think big chunks of lobster meat, dressed in just enough mayonnaise to hold things together, but without masking the rich, briny flavor of the shellfish. And those buns? I never would have thought that the combination would go well together, but I must confess - I am sold. The soft bread, the firm, succulent lobster, the creamy mayo... its simplicity is genius.
So, to our hosts Erin and Roscoe - thanks for showing me the light (and the lobsters). Can't wait for next year!
Recipes abound on the 'netfor this Atlantic coast New England classic. Our friends chose a purist approach: "We only used mayo (and very little at that). We find that much else hides the taste of the lobster." Hard to argue with that. But I imagine a little chopped celery, green onion, or lemon juice would all be welcome additions if you want to mix things up a bit. And - call me crazy - I couldn't help but think that a restrained shot of Sriracha chili sauce would have been pretty awesome on one of these babies. One aspect of the recipe, however, is not open to debate: choose the freshest lobsters you can find.
live lobsters - approx. 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person
plain hot dog buns, split open*
Cook the lobsters in boiling, salted water (you can find directions for cooking lobsters here). Drain, cool and remove meat. Chop into large chunks, about 3/4 to 1 inch in size. Cool completely. Place lobster meat in a large bowl, and gently stir in just enough mayonnaise to coat. Spoon generous portions into the hot dog buns. Serve immediately with plenty of ice-cold beer.
Makes as few or as many as you'd like.
*The classic New England recipes call for grilling the buns in butter on a hot griddle before filling with the lobster. That may be the traditional way of doing things, but if you're serving a crowd it's kind of a hassle. And when you've got great lobster on hand, there's really no need to gild the lily. All that said, if you can find traditional split-top, New England style hot dog buns, go for it!