This fall my husband has been fishing once a week aboard the F/V Hey Jude. Thursday mornings, he rises at 3 to pack his lunch. Around 5, he and Captain Joe head to the dock to load bait, and by 5:30 they are steaming out of Stonington Harbor headed for the outer islands.
Depending on the seas and the weather, they’ll pull around 200 traps, often handling more than 600 lobsters (and crabs) before returning back to shore. He loves the work, and I love reaping the benefits.
Our visiting family and friends have been treated to steamed lobster with melted butter, lobster rolls in perfectly toasted hot dog rolls, rich and creamy lobster stew and the family food of choice, lobster tails sautéed in butter on English muffins with Hollandaise sauce.
Another favorite dish of mine is Maine Lobster Pot Pie. Inspired by a Jasper White recipe, this preparation is a hearty mix of potatoes, onions, peppers and mushrooms combined in a creamy lobster sauce with chunks of Maine lobster and topped with a biscuit crust.
Perfect for festive and relaxed entertaining, Maine Lobster Pot Pies can be prepared in the morning and baked fresh for supper. Need a covered dish for a potluck party? Fill a buttered casserole dish with the lobster mixture and cover with biscuit dough or puff pastry. Creative variations of veggies include leeks, celery and carrots, even fennel.
No matter how you catch and cook it, nothing beats a dish with Maine lobster.
Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected].
Maine Lobster Pot Pie
Makes 6 servings
2 cups cooked Maine lobster meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup peeled and cubed potato
1 medium sweet bell pepper (red, yellow or orange) chopped
1 cup chopped onion
6 oz. (about 1 cup) fresh mushrooms, chopped
3 Tbsps. butter
2 cups liquid (a combination of lobster stock, potato water, or clam juice)
¼ cup heavy cream
3 Tbsps. corn starch
3 Tbsps. water
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsps. finely minced fresh parsley
½ tsp. dried thyme
Biscuit dough (recipe follows)
In a small saucepan, cook the potatoes in water until just fork tender. Drain the potatoes, reserving the water. Place potatoes in a large bowl and set aside.
In a sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the onions and peppers until they start to soften. Add the mushrooms and simmer until cooked.
Remove the vegetables to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the 2 cups of liquids to the juices in the sauté pan and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cream. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and whisk it in. Cook, whisking vigorously, until the sauce returns to a boil. It will be very thick.
Combine the sauce with the vegetables and potato in a mixing bowl. Let cool to room temperature and add the cooked lobster meat, chopped parsley and thyme. Season to taste with the sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Divide the mixture evenly between 6 potpie ramekins and refrigerate while preparing the biscuit dough.
1½ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup lard or butter at room temperature
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ tsp. salt
2 tsps. Bakewell Cream or cream of tartar
¾ cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda
Sift the ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Blend in the butter or lard. Add the milk and stir until a soft dough is formed.
On a floured surface, turn out the biscuit dough and divide into six pieces. Roll out the dough to cover the pot pie. Make a slit in the top of each crust. Transfer to the top of each pie.
Pies may be refrigerated overnight before baking. To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
Nutritional analysis per pot pie: 519 calories, 22 grams protein, 65 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams fat, 758 mg. sodium, 4.2 grams fiber.