Book Notes: 55 ways to eat lobster
"Lobster! 55 Fresh & Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating." by Brooke Dojny. Storey Publishing, North Adams, Mass., 2012. 144 pages. $14.95.
For anyone not living on the northeast coast of the United States, the title of this joyful new book of yummy lobster recipes may seem rather shocking. “Lobster! 55 Fresh & Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating.” Everyday eating? Lobster?
Those of us privileged enough (and it is a privilege) to live with the sound of crashing waves, within the sight of the lobster boats hauling up the traps and within walking distance of a fish monger’s shop can indeed eat lobster every day for not much more money than you would spend whipping up a shepherd’s pie or a lasagna.
But would you want to? According to Dojny, lobsters were plentiful when the colonists got here. In fact, before the 19th century, lobsters were so disdained that they were fed to prisoners and chickens. Today, most of us think of lobster as a food most appreciated on special occasions. It’s rich, it requires nerves of steel to prepare (unless the fish monger steams it for you), and it insists upon an investment of time to eat in the rough.
Author Brooke Dojny, a Maine resident and former catering director for Martha Stewart, knows that lobster is as versatile as a pound of freshly ground burger. She provides us with recipes for lobster hors d’oeuvres, salads, chowders and stews, and main dishes. She also provides recipes for lobster rolls, tacos, pizzas, sandwiches and lobster-compatible desserts. Yes, lobster every day is possible. And, if you insist on lobster as dessert, just dunk it in warm butter and roll it in melted chocolate. It will probably be delicious. Please know that Dojny did not offer this tip in her book. It’s just common sense.
The book is a treasure. It’s filled with gorgeous photography and loads of blurbs of interest. Jasper White’s five Summer Shacks go through 250,000 pounds of lobster a year. And there’s something called Big Claw, a wine made to pair with lobster. Look for the label with the big red claw. Dojny’s book also provides detailed instructions on steaming/boiling lobster, as well how to eat a whole lobster. It also has a way of bringing on a mega craving for … lobster.
If you’re wondering how Dojny prepares a classic New England-style lobster roll, she does not add celery or onion. She douses the lobster meat in a couple of squeezes of lemon juice to start. Then she adds 1/3 cup mayonnaise and salt and pepper to the 2 cups of fresh lobster meat. She toasts the top-split rolls in butter and heaps the lobster meat into the middle. Her recipe makes four big lobster rolls. It’s all about the lobster.
As for lobster stew, which many of us would call chowder, she uses only lobster, butter, white wine, milk, cream, salt and a few snips of chives. The chives, she says, are heretical but nice. As for lobster tacos, she tops the lobster meat with avocado, shredded cabbage, lime juice, cilantro, cheeses, and salsa. Fold this goodness into soft, warm corn tortillas and toast Dojny’s food muse.
The book just came out this week, in time to prepare your Memorial Day menu. Happy summertime eating, thanks to Brooke Dojny and the lobster fishermen riding the swells like cowboys.
Rae Padilla Francoeur’s memoir, “Free Fall: A Late-in-Life Love Affair,” is available online or in bookstores. Write her at email@example.com. Or read her blog at http://www.freefallrae.blogspot.com/ or follow her @RaeAF.