Tuesday, July 24, 2012

LOBSTER PIE - Summertime doesn't get any Better than This!

Lobster Pie fresh out of the Oven

Lobster Pies isn't just something you get as a "special" at any old waterfront restaurant. It is an absolute "must" for your summer repertoire of engaging menus using what is at hand on Cape Ann. It has been a not just a good year for lobsters, it has been a great year. My husband has been coming home with them from his traps pretty often. I need to pair this with my summer garden and there are just so many boiled lobsters, lobster cocktails, and lobster salads one can do without boredom setting in. It seems like every year around about the beginning of August, I start getting a little more creative with the lobster recipes. This year, inspiration struck early. Now you can get a can of CAMPBELLS Shrimp Bisque at the store and use it for your sauce. You may go blind looking for it amongst the soups but in a pinch you can use that for Lobster Pie and it is decent. My husband, Charlie, and I got talking and I remembered the Lobster Pies from the Easterly Inn during the 1960's and 70's, made by a host of french chefs named Marcelle and Pierre, hired by my grandmother, restauranteur, Melissa C. Smith. I plotted to recreate these magnificent memories this summer. I think I did a pretty good job and I have to tell you, this dish, is totally worth the work of making a lobster stock first. 

I love to serve Lobster Pie with Pasta!

I like to serve Lobster Pie with a pasta. I am sure this isn't the way it was done years ago but I don't care, it is delicious with a nice pasta. My new favorite is "Cavatappi" which looks like corkscrews. I bought it by accident one time when I was getting some rotini for a pasta salad I was making and was pleasantly surprised by the way it holds the sauce.

Pair Pasta/Pie with a steamed
Vegetable and a Garden Salad!

It is great with a steamed veggie like broccoli or asparagus too!

lobster shells cooking with wine and
veggies to get out the flavor of the Lobster

Speaking of Sauce, this dish seems like it is about Lobster and yes, Lobster is the main player, how could Lobster be anything but the main player but the supporting actor is the sauce and to make a REALLY good sauce for Lobster Pie one must take the shells of the tails (after you shuck the lobster meat, I used 5 small lobsters for the meat in this pie ). I cut the shells into quarters.

1 pie

Main Ingredient:
4-6 small lobsters cooked and shucked (set meat aside till assembling pie)

Lobster Stock Ingredients:
1 small chopped onion or shallots
1 stalk cellery chopped
1 small carrot chopped
2 cups white wine
3 Tbsp Butter
salt and pepper to taste (white pepper works well)

Sauce for Pie Ingredients:
4 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 cup scant flour
1 cup heavy cream
1-11/4 cup strained Lobster Stock
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4+ dry sherry to taste
salt and white pepper to taste

1 sleeve of crushed with a rolling pin in a plastic bag Ritz Cracker Crumbs
3 Tbsp. Melted butter drizzled on top

Saute your onions, celery, and carrots in the butter till slightly cooked, add 2 c. white wine and lobster shells.  Do this in a heavy pan. I use an enameled cast iron pan. Bring to a boil and then set on low and let simmer or cook down. You are looking to get at least 1 cup of cooked down stock for this recipe. You can always make extra, if desired, and save for future use. I cooked this down down about 20 minutes. Then I strained out the shells and vegetables to get the stock.

While stock is cooking, I buttered a nice glass pie plate 

Cut the Lobster Meat into Small Bite Size Pieces
 and place in your buttered pie plate

Strained Lobster Stock - You need 1 cup of it for Pie, freeze
any extras for future Bisque or Chowder

Making the Roux
Melt Butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat. You want to cook this slowly to thicken beautifully. After Butter is melted, add flour and whisk to make a roux and then add some cream and stir constantly. Continue to add cream, lobster stock alternately and continue stirring over medium heat until thickened. Add dry mustard, sherry, and any salt and white pepper you need to get the right taste.

Pour the completed and thickened Lobster Sauce over the bite size lobster pieces in the pie plate. You should have 2 cups of Sauce which is enough for the pie. 

Crush 1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers (20-25 crackers) in a plastic bag. Use a rolling pin. Make sure they are fully crushed and look like bread crumbs. Sprinkle crushed Ritz Cracker Crumbs over top of Lobster Pie. Then drizzle with melted butter. At this point you can either cook it right away or pop it into the refrigerator for later when its dinner time or guests arrive. This is actually a very good dinner party dish because you can make it up earlier in the day and cook it while you have wine, cocktails, and conversation before dinner and as the hostess you won't have the stress of cooking with people looking over your shoulder and you can spend more time with them.
Lobster Pie cooking in the Oven
When its 20-25 minutes before dinner, pop the gorgeous Lobster Pie in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

While Lobster Pie is cooking, I like to cook my Cavatappi Pasta!
 I have also made this with Angel Hair Pasta to RAVE reviews!

This is what Lobster Pie looks like when you
take it our of the Oven
Browned and Bubbly

I like to steam up a fresh vegetable to go with Lobster Pie
 and this is some of my Organic Steamed Broccoli
from my Cape Ann Garden

Serve quickly while it is all still piping hot. This recipe makes quite a bit and it should be enough for 4-6 people easily for a dinner party. My husband love making this and eating the leftovers if we aren't entertaining. Believe me, this Pie will never go to waste!

The flavor is light, aromatic, and pleasingly delicious. If guided you could add some parmesan cheese to the pasta. I have to tell you that we enjoy it just as it is. Simple flavors enhanced by fresh New England Ingredients. You could doctor this up with all kinds of various herbs, garlic, and chopped whatever in all kinds of reductions but the truth is, this simple old fashioned New England stable truly pleases the palate and the senses.

Good Luck in your cooking and if you feel inspired to try your hand at this Pie you will be rewarded with not only a delicious meal but the appreciation and gratitude of your guests.

Cooking with Love enhances all the flavors of Life! Good Living doesn't get any better than this!

~~Melissa Smith Abbott
Tues., July 24, 2012