Island Cooking: No excuse for not serving lobster

With prices so low right now, a lot of people are buying and eating lobsters. I’ve been having some lobster myself. Especially when you have company, it’s always fun to have a big pot of mussels and lobsters and enjoy them outside when the weather is so nice.

I realized the other day though that I’m ready to have lobster a few different ways. I’m sure my guests won’t mind trying a few different dishes because they can have their fill of good old Maine lobster dripping with butter for most of their stay.

So below I have a couple of recipes that I found were pretty good. I know some people just can’t fathom eating lobster in other than traditional ways, but for those of you who want to try, there are a couple of recipes I like. Of course, they are nice and rich.

I was thinking recently about how when I was growing up, I never liked lobster. It was some years later, after I had moved away from Maine, that some friends invited me out to dinner. We went to a Red Lobster, of all places, and I had never been to one.

But having grown up in Maine, and also having been a waitress at one point, I definitely knew what a lobster dinner looked like. So imagine my surprise when the lobster was served. All I saw was one lobster tail on the plate. Where was the rest of the lobster, I asked? Someone answered that this is how they always get it.

What real lobster dinner didn’t have the whole lobster with it?

But I did taste it and actually liked it. So the next time I went back home to Maine to visit, I was asked what I wanted to eat. Jaws dropped. Let me just say a new love affair was born; I loved it!

Now I try to eat it as many ways as possible, from lobster mac and cheese to lobster pot pie, even lobster stuffed into puffed pastry.

This past weekend, I tried a new dish – beef tenderloin with a piece of bacon wrapped around it then grilled (you can never go wrong with bacon, I say), then placed on a pan and topped with chopped cooked lobster, broiled until a little brown. Topped with browned butter with a little Old Bay seasoning added to the melted butter, and let’s just say it was delicious.

But I think I just answered a question that I have been asking myself recently. How in the world can I be putting on weight if all I am eating is seafood? The answer might be the butter and bacon.

I think I’ll just have a great cocktail and see what kind of lobster salad recipes I can come up with to help me out with this situation.

Millionaire Cocktail

¾ oz. sloe gin

¾ oz. apricot brandy

¾ oz. Jamaican rum

1 dash grenadine

Juice of one lime

Put all ingredients in a shaker glass filled with ice. Shake, strain into a chilled martini glass and enjoy!

Maine Lobster Lasagna

15 oz. container ricotta cheese

2 eggs

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp minced onion

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 cups of your favorite recipe of Alfredo sauce

Lasagna noodles, cooked

1½ to 2 pounds lobster meat, cooked and cubed

10 oz. of baby spinach leaves

Cook the lasagna noodles according to the directions on package. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs, half of the cheddar, half of the mozzarella and half of the parmesan cheese. Mix in onion, garlic, parsley and pepper.

Spread 1¼ cups of your Alfredo sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Place a 1/3 of the lobster meat over the noodles, cover with a 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture and a 1/3 of the spinach and then another layer of Alfredo sauce and repeat this process a couple of times, ending with the Alfredo sauce on top.

Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese over the top and bake, covered loosely with foil, for 45 minutes. Remove foil, bake an additional 10 minutes and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Baked Maine Lobster Pie

2½ pound lobster, roughly chopped

2 tbsp butter

¼ cup sherry (I substitute chicken broth or apple juice)

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

¾ cup light cream (milk is fine)

2 egg yolks

Pie Topping

¼ cup crushed Ritz crackers, saltines or panko

¼ tsp paprika

1 tbsp potato chips, finely crushed

1½ tsp parmesan cheese

2 tbsp melted butter

Melt 2 tbsp butter, add sherry (or your substitute) and boil one minute. Add lobster, turn off heat and let stand.

Melt the 3 tbsp butter and add flour. Stir 1 minute until bubbly and remove from heat. Slowly stir in cream and sherry mixture drained from lobster. Return to heat, whisk until smooth and thick, and remove from heat.

Beat egg yolks very well and slowly add to cream sauce. Stir well for about a minute.

Add the lobster and pour into a deep-dish pie plate. Sprinkle with topping. Bake in 300 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

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Holly Simason

Columnist at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander cooking columnist Holly Simason is co-author of the mystery series “Death of a Kitchen Diva." Simason has collaborated with her screenwriter brother Rick Copp for the Bar Harbor-based series. The books are written under the pen name Lee Hollis.