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Simple, Scrumptious Lobster Dishes

This article is more than 12 years old.

As summer ends, Here & Now's resident chef Kathy Gunst took one last look at New England's favorite summer food, fresh Maine lobster. Kathy explored what it takes to get a lobster from the sea to your table with lobstermen from the Stonington Lobster Co-op on Maine's Deer Isle. Check below for some of Kathy's simple, yet scrumptious lobster recipes.

Lobster Roll (pdf version)

Kathy’s take:
A classic Maine lobster roll contains fresh lobster meat tossed with mayonnaise and, sometimes, finely chopped celery. That’s it. The salad is stuffed into a buttered and grilled hot dog roll. You can do it the old-time Mainer way, but I happen to my like my (slightly yuppy) version better, combining fresh cooked lobster meat with just a touch of mayonnaise spiked with lemon juice, lemon zest, chives, and scallions. And I like serving it on pieces of buttered, grilled baguette because I love the crunch and texture of French bread with the tender lobster meat.

2 one-pound lobsters, or 1 cup cooked lobster meat
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon very finely chopped scallion
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
Two 3-inch pieces of baguette or crispy bread, or two hot dog rolls
*1 ½ if you like a less creamy lobster roll and 2 tablespoons if you like it creamy

(Kevin Sullivan/Here & Now.)
(Kevin Sullivan/Here & Now.)

Fill a large pot with about 2 to 3 inches water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the lobster, shell side down, cover and cook for about 11 minutes, or until a leg pulls out of the body easily. Remove from the boiling water and let cool.

Separate the tail from the body. Using a fork remove the tail meat from the tail. Crack the claws and remove the meat. Enjoy the bodies. Cut the tail in half lengthwise and remove the thin black vein. Coarsely chop the tail and claw meat and set aside.

In a bowl mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice, zest, chives, scallions and pepper to taste. Fold in the lobster meat. You can make the lobster salad ahead of time, but not by more than 3 to 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate.

In a skillet melt the butter over low heat. Cut the baguette pieces in half lengthwise and brown the inside of the bread in the melted butter until it just begins to turn golden brown. Alternately, melt the butter and brown the hot dog rolls until they begin to turn a golden brown, flipping them over so they get toasted and buttery on both sides. Divide the lobster mixture between the bread or the rolls. Serves 2.

You Could Also Add…
* 1 tablespoon drained capers
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
* Lime juice and zest instead of lemon
* Buttery, tender lettuce leaves
* Slices of ripe tomato
* A strip of cooked country style bacon
* Thin slices of buttery avocado
* Very thin slices red onion

Grilled Lobster with Garlic-Lemon-Herb Butter (pdf version)

Kathy's take:
If you’ve never grilled lobster outdoors over an open fire, you’re in for a treat. This lobster is cooked over indirect heat—meaning the coals are pushed off to one side (or a gas grill is only heated on one side), allowing the lobster to cook slowly and become moist, slightly smoky, and infused with garlic, herbs, and butter. If you are squeamish about the idea of cutting a live lobster, ask your fish store to do it for you, but be sure to cook the lobsters within an hour after they have been cut.

Your best bet for this recipe is to use a soft shell lobster. Since the shell is softer, it’s easier to cut the lobster down the middle. And because of the soft shell, the heat of the grill cooks the lobster more evenly and quickly. If you’re working with hard shell lobsters you may need to add another 2 to 3 minutes to the cooking time.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Generous grinding black pepper
Four 1 1/2-pound live lobsters, preferably soft shell
1 lemon, cut into wedges

(Another Pint Please/ Flickr)
(Another Pint Please/ Flickr)

Place the butter and garlic in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for about 4 minutes, or until the butter is bubbling and the garlic has softened. Remove from the heat and add the chives, thyme, basil, tarragon, lemon juice and pepper and stir well to mix all the ingredients. The butter can be made several hours ahead of time; cover and refrigerate until ready to cook the lobsters.

Preheat the grill for indirect heat, pushing the hot coals off to one side and leaving the other side without direct heat. When working with a gas grill simply heat only one side of the grill until it reaches about 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, prepare the lobsters: Place them on a clean work surface, shell-side down. One at a time, place a tea towel over the lobster’s head and plunge a knife into the body directly below the head and split the lobster open, cutting it down the middle, almost all the way through. The lobster should still be attached and not separated into 2 halves. (This technique may seem gruesome, but many experts claim it’s more humane than plunging the poor things into boiling water.) Remove and discard the sac at the top of the head. Alternately, have your fish store cut the lobster for you.

Divide the garlic-lemon-herb butter between the lobsters, placing it in the body and throughout the tail of each, pushing the butter into the meat.

Place the lobsters on the side of the grill without the direct heat, shell-side down, so that you don’t lose any juices. Cover the grill and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 2 to 6 minutes, depending on the size of your lobsters, until the tail meat feels just firm, and not soft and raw. The tomalley or liver should not be a dark green but a paler more cooked looking green. Remove from the hot grill, place on a platter, and scatter with the lemon wedges. Serves 4.


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