Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Proper Lobster Bake

It has taken me a long time to write about cooking lobsters. I’ve been waiting for the perfect moment.

There have been quite a few; cooking lobsters at home while a friend visiting from China was with us, borrowing a lobster pot in Rockport Mass from a waitress’ dad, who told us ‘His name is Jim, you’ll know him when you see him’, Driving lobsters down to Philadelphia or driving lobsters to upstate New York, well, you get the picture. We cook a lot of lobsters for guests, as that is what everyone expects from people who reside in Maine. And Joe and I are happy to oblige.

But this time, this time was different. And it was blog-worthy.

The recipe itself is not difficult – get lobsters, steam them, serve with butter and lemon and other things, cover yourself with lobster juice, enjoy. But what really separates this from the other lobster feasts is the combo of when, where, and how that set it apart.
 The best way to steam lobsters is in ocean water.  I’ve tried plain water, seasoned water and wine; but the best lobsters were always cooked in boiling seawater.  This does ruin the inside of a pot, so be warned.  Sometimes you can find little pouches of “Sea Salt” for adding to tap water if you are in a store buying lobsters.  But if you happen to be near the ocean, by all means use some of that instead.   
So let me tell you a bit about the pictures that you see here.  A friend of mine from NJ came up to visit and we went camping in Acadia National Park.  He requested that we have a proper lobster bake.  I considered using driftwood, seaweed, stones and tarps to do this but wasn’t sure all those pieces would come together in protected wildlife areas.  So we opted for literally the next best thing.  A lobster bake over a campfire.   
 Yup, cliffs were scaled to retrieve aforementioned ocean water, a fire built and stoked and tended to boil that water.  Local potatoes, corn and butter were accompaniments and steamer clams and lobsters the main show.  A word of the wise for you though, boiling a large pot of water over an open fire takes a long time, so plan accordingly.  Thankfully we had brought good bread, cheese, tomatoes and plenty of wine to hold us over for dinner.   
 That is not to say the dinner didn’t have its share of challenges.  Besides sending my friend over a cliff in search of water to potentially his death, or the fact that washing a butter covered pot with cold water in another pot that is equally coated in food particles at your campsite could potentially lead to some interestingly flavored coffee the next morning, the meal was very good.  Oh yeah and cleaning the steamers prior to cooking was not something we were able to do, so they were a bit crunchy.  But other than that I would do this again in a moment, and if you are fortunate to have lobsters, ocean water and an open flame you should give it a try as well.   

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you have a little Maine in you! Great blog!


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