The Maine Lobster Council boasts of having the most delicious lobster in the world, and there was a time when you had to travel to Maine just to see if they were right. Flash forward to today when, last weekend, my entire family convened at our mountain house, and one simple phone call brought the world’s finest crustaceans to our front door – enough for Saturday night’s supper. Steak and Lobster night is a long standing tradition for us Morgan’s…. and in true Morgan fashion, we felt the need to include good friends in our celebration.
Combining those jet-setting lobsters with simple, locally grown products, makes for a simple, yet stunning dinner menu. And so, early Saturday morning, me, son Jonathan and granddaughter, Mallory, woke early, grabbed a few totes and made our way to the Boone Farmer’s Market to take stock of the fresh produce from the local farmers. We sampled several flavors of artisanal goat cheese and settled on the Herbs de Provence flavor to be served as our appy. We also purchased two varieties of homemade hummus, a basket of newly planted fresh herbs, ripe tomatoes for our garden salad and a great big, warm-from-the-oven cinnamon bun for Mallory (and Jon) to nibble on.
Safely back at home, we were greeted by the UPS delivery dude, who carefully unloaded a box of still-squiggling, jet lagged whole lobsters. My lobster provider of choice is The Lobster Guy. I have ordered from this site many times and have been thoroughly pleased with every purchase. The lobsters were HUGE and scrumptious. We housed them in their cooler, on the outdoor covered deck, where they were kept safe and sound for the better part of the day.
In order to spend the most time with my family and guests that evening, I prepared many of the dishes in advance. I husked ears of corn and brushed each one with olive oil, seasoned them with salt and pepper – all ready for their date with the grill. I baked and then stuffed potatoes – so they required only a finishing roast. The salad ingredients were washed, peeled, and chopped and lovingly arranged in a salad bowl. The simple vinaigrette made from grainy mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper and a palm full of fresh dill was whisked with just enough olive oil to splash onto each bite. Just to take the meal over the top, I served perfectly grilled beef tenderloins alongside of the lobster. I marinated the beef in a combination of Worcestershire sauce, crushed garlic, fresh parsley and olive oil.
Then there were those lobsters … I had planned to boil them in a large pot on the stove: however, grilling was on my mind – so I came up with plan “B”, which would now become my plan “A”. I did boil the water, and each one took his swim, but after the dunking, I removed the slightly under-cooked lobsters to a roasting pan and allowed them to cool slightly. I broke apart the tails and the claws and discarded the bodies. I persuaded son, Trey, to do the honors and equipped him with a mallet, a heavy towel and a wooden cutting board, directing him to the back porch (so as not to wake the babies from their nap). He cracked the claws in several places and placed them back into the roasting pan. With scissors, I cut through the spiny tail and carefully loosened the meat. Son Christopher’s girlfriend brilliantly discovered a way to squeeze the tail meat from the shell (rather than prod it out) and our hands were saved!! When the lobsters were prepared, I drizzled the whole lot with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and generously seasoned them with sea salt and coarse pepper.
As the group gathered, sipping wine and nibbling appys, Jon and I lit the grill and the final stages of cooking were underway. He roasted the lobster claws and tails on the hot grill just long enough to give each bite a bit of smokiness. The beef was seared, the corn was charred, the salad tossed and the potatoes pulled from the oven. Melted butter was poured for all – and the meal was served and devoured.
Another Morgan tradition happily transpired and the only question on everybody’s lips was, “Can …we do it again next week??”
If you would like to see more step-by-step pictures of how to grill lobster tail you can check out my AT HOME ENTERTAINING recipe for Grilled Florida Lobster Tail with Garlicky Tomato Sauce (page 130). Here's another FUN tip: I used the leftover lobster meat, all of the rosy shells and my AT HOME ENTERTAINING recipe for Lobster Bisque (page 274) to make a hearty soup for everyone to take away on the trip home. A satisfying YUMM was had by all.......