Maine lobster – five ways

Who says you can’t eat lobster for every course? Well, not dessert (I think) but I did eat these wonderful lobster dishes while in Maine last week. Not one was overcooked, which is typically how you find it in the south. Sweet juicy lobster meat was delicately seasoned, sometimes not at all, so that you are able to taste the true flavor.

80% of the lobsters found in the US come from Maine. It is not uncommon to find Mainers lobstering (fishing for lobsters) through the summer. They are also fished sustainability, meaning only a limited number can be taken by each fisherman and resident. The female lobsters cannot be fished and have to be sent back into the water.

Lobster is comparatively cheap in Maine. You can get a whole one for about $9 in an inexpensive shack, which can land up for $60 in a fine dine restaurant outside the state. So, while in Maine, I did what the Mainers do – eat lobster!

The Inn by the Sea has a wonderful restaurant, Sea Glass serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. They source everything locally and promote a farm to table concept. Enjoy a delicious breakfast of lobster omelet with a hot cup of cappuccino, then take a stroll on their boardwalk, watch the birds, and relax on the beach.

Lobster Omelet at Sea Glass

Lobster Stew at The Lobster Shack at Two Lights, literally a shack by the ocean side. You can order stews, rolls or plates at the counter, then grab a picnic table and enjoy the views with your meal. Open March-October.

Lobster Stew at Lobster Shack

Fisherman’s Catch Wells is a rustic seafood restaurant which can be easily missed if you are not looking for it. Here you will find communal style tables and the fresh simple seafood. While the fried clams here are listed in “100 things to eat before you diet” the lobster rolls are no less. A traditional maine lobster roll should have lobster meat, a dash of paprika, some mayonnaise and toasted roll. If they offer you lettuce and tomato, just say no.

Lobster Roll at Fisherman’s Catch Wells

You cannot come to Maine and not eat a whole Maine lobster stuffed with shrimps and scallops. For that, you go to Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport. The hotel has won many awards and is a popular wedding destination.

Whole Maine stuffed lobster at Nonantum Resort

I love it when the work is already done for me and the meat is processed yet presented in it’s shell. One of the best dishes I ate in Maine was an orange infused lobster with roasted corn risotto, served with baby carrots and a light buttery sauce. Delicious creation of Chef Mitchell Morgan Kaldrovich at the Sea Glass restaurant in Cape Elizabeth.

Orange infused lobster with roasted corn risotto at Sea Glass

Thanksgiving is around the corner. Give thanks in the comfort of a vacation home.

Tandoori in Iceland

When I visited Iceland in 2009, I wasn’t sure what to expect from its culinary scene. Iceland has known to be exorbitantly expense due to its distant location, extreme climate and scarce population. Out of its 300k citizens, only 4% of the population is employed in agriculture. They primarily grow potatoes, turnips, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers. Other than that, the farmers keep cattle, horses and sheep. Being surrounded by waters, seafood is definitely a big source of food and export for the country.

I saw all of these items on the menu but did not dare try the horse meat. I try to stick to being a pescetarian whenever possible. While there were lots of options for seafood lovers, the most pleasant surprise I had was the Icelandic lobsters. They are very different than the North American lobsters, being smaller in size, almost like a prawn. Also, their texture is much softer and when cooked well, they melt in your mouth.

The Icelandic lobsters preparations varied at the different places I tried them at. In Vik, there was a huge plate of scampi style as well as a lobster meat pizza. In Reykjavik, there were lobster tails in a cream butter sauce with julienned vegetables.

Perhaps the best dish that I tried was tandoori lobster tails at an Indian restaurant in Reykjavik. There were a dozen tender juicy lobster tails perfectly marinated with spices and grilled to perfection. They were served with a mint yogurt chutney and fresh baked naan. Only if i could find the Icelandic lobsters here in the south, I would be preparing this recipe at every special occasion. Until then, just make do with regular American lobsters.

Recipe for Tandoori Lobster Tails

4 medium lobster tails, (removed from shells) meat only

½ cup plain yogurt

¼ cup tandoori paste

Mix the yogurt and tandoori paste in a large bowl, add the lobster tails. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Heat a grill to 350F. Place the lobster tails on the greased grill surface and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook the lobsters as they will become too dry and chewy. Serve immediately with mint chutney.