lobster rolls

Lobster vs. Crab: Which is the Ultimate Roll?

by Anne Maxfield on August 26, 2013

Accidental Locavore Fried ClamsThere are mysteries about Manhattan that puzzle the Accidental Locavore and several of them have to do with seafood. Why, for example, in a city where there is cuisine from almost every country in the world, is it almost impossible to find an acceptable fried clam? Was it in the spirit of PT Barnum (“a sucker born every minute”) that someone decided that clam strips – the most inedible part of the clam – would be an acceptable fried food? As any New Englander (or anyone with taste buds) would tell you, the belly is the best part of a clam. Which is why the fried clams you get anywhere north of New York are far superior to anything found in the Big Apple.

Accidental Locavore Lobster Roll and FriesThe other mystery concerns one of the trendy foods of the moment – lobster rolls. A lobster roll is a fine thing to do with a lobster, if you, like my husband, are not inclined to mess with a whole lobster (however, there’s something really satisfying about working through a lobster and plopping it in melted butter). Lobster rolls certainly beat other permutations like lobster mac and cheese or lobster chop suey (can lobster macaroons be far behind?). However, it’s something that shouldn’t be messed with and adding caviar or vanilla is just plain wrong – ditto serving it in anything other than a buttered and toasted spilt-top hot dog roll.

Accidental Locavore Crabmeat RollWhat about its cousin, the crabmeat roll? Something never seen on a New York menu (when I did a Google search for it, only sushi came up). Possibly, it’s a labor thing – it’s a lot easier to break up a lobster (claws, tail, possibly a little body meat) and it comes in a bigger package. Crabs, especially the Maine varieties, are a lot smaller and harder to “pick.” But what you’re left with – the fine strands of crabmeat, tossed with just enough mayonnaise to hold it together, on a hamburger roll, lightly toasted on a grill until it just loses its chill – is about as good as a sandwich can get. Add some hot fries, a cold iced tea, a view of the ocean and you have my idea of the perfect summer lunch.

 

 

 

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Accidental Locavore: Yearning for Lobster

by Anne Maxfield on August 23, 2012

Accidental Locavore Lobster and Butter

The Accidental Locavore has had lobster on the brain recently. Must be that I keep hearing how inexpensive it’s been this summer. Might also be that I’m feeling a bit deprived as I didn’t eat much/enough of it when I was in Maine last month. Stupidly, the first morning, I had a bite from my husband’s lobster omelet and as I took the bite, I knew the lobster wasn’t good, but I ate it anyway. Luckily, all it did was take my appetite away for a couple of days and passing on a lobster dinner might not seem like a big event to you but…

Two nights later, I was ready for a couple of “twin” (identical, fraternal?) lobsters. Or maybe just one big one. We were off to Waterman’s Beach, the local lobster joint. It’s on a lovely stretch of beach, islands on the horizon and a pier, just so you know how local the lobsters are. Sandy and her sister run the place. The deal, for those in the know, is to bring your own starters and wine and let Sandy and her crew take care of the main course and desserts. For me, for dinner, it’s always lobsters. For whoever else is with us, there’s a choice of lobsters, steamed clams, lobster and crabmeat rolls, all simply prepared, with the freshest local seafood, and delicious!

Accidental Locavore Lobster RollThe problem (for me anyway, chime in if you disagree) with summer lobsters is that most of them are soft-shelled, otherwise known as shedders. While they’re easier to eat because you can just rip them open without tools, they’re really deceptive. With a hard-shelled lobster, you crack it open (crackers, rocks or a hammer needed) and the meat is tightly packed in (which I think gives it a better texture, however there is absolutely no science behind that). Shedders are different, it’s always a guess as to how much meat is actually there. Sandy told me that for a one pound shedder, there are only 3.5 ounces of meat, barely a snack and hardly enough to call dinner, right?

Accidental Locavore Lobsters AfterIf you think you’re going to have room afterwards, there are lots of homemade pies, blueberry of course, but lots of other great flavors. You might want to order them with your lobster as they usually sell out quickly. Or, as the Locavore has found in the past, a small lobster also makes a wonderful dessert!

 

 

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Accidental Locavore Maine Coast

So when the Accidental Locavore isn’t hanging at the bar at Cafe Miranda, what else is she eating that’s local and fresh on the coast of Maine? If you happen to be heading up to the Maine Lobster Festival this weekend, here are some food ideas to get you away from the crowds.

How about water buffalo burgers sourced from the farmers’ market in Camden  stuffed with cheese from Hahn’s End, one of the artisanal cheesemakers there too? Delicious and a healthy alternative…well, except for the cheese…to a beef burger. Grab a piece of their “Petit Poulet,” an ash-rubbed semi-soft cheese to nibble on. If you go to the market on a Saturday, Uproot Pie Company is there with a portable wood-burning pizza oven turning out great looking pies. Wouldn’t that be great (and mobbed) at the Greenmarkets in New York?Accidental Locavore Camden Farmers Market

Another favorite place is your typical lobster joint, Waterman’s Beach. The Locavore thinks it’s pretty safe to say that most fish places on remote beaches have amazing food, world-wide. Waterman’s was actually the recipient of a James Beard Award, but that hasn’t gone to their heads. Lorri and Sandy and their crew serve great lobsters, crabmeat rolls, clams and a lobster roll that the Daily Meal rated one of the best in Maine. Me, I like my lobster straight-up with melted butter and possibly a second “twin” lobster to keep it company. Or if it’s lunchtime, their crabmeat rolls are great. What’s cool at Waterman’s is that you can bring your own wine and when the bottle is empty, add it to the eclectic collection lining the railing. Last summer we spotted an empty bottle of La Tache, supposedly a gift to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and now in my mother’s collection (to disguise the two-buck-Chuck?).Accidental Locavore Lobster Roll

Since Manhattan, for all its good qualities, still hasn’t learned to appreciate a decent fried clam, the Locavore waits all year to hit Maine for real fried clams (the difference? Whole clams vs. strips). This year we found good ones at a friend’s restaurant, the Slipway in Thomaston and really good ones at the Happy Clam, a German restaurant in Tenant’s Harbor.

And the last of the local food? Besides a quart of Maine blueberries on the trip home, what’s become a must-stop for my husband is Morse’s. Maine is full of great places for food in the most unimaginable locations and Morse’s, ten miles off the highway, is really in the middle of nowhere. Their specialties are their own sauerkraut, beet slaw and pickles. There’s a restaurant serving Middle-European breakfast and lunch and the store has charcuterie from all over the world.

So, well-stocked and well-fed, we hit the road, vowing once again never to eat again…

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