I bought two lobsters at the Farmers' Market yesterday. I bought other things, too, but they are not the topic of this post, so I'll save them for later.
They were about a pound and a half each, and while I could happily eat both all by myself (shades drawn, doors locked), I figured the kids could split one and Bill and I could split the other one.
Bill had a long day yesterday – up earlier than usual and away on a field trip with his chorus students. That's something like 150-160 middle school kids, plus chaperones. 4 busloads of people. They participated in a music festival (got two golds) and then went to an amusement park near by for the rest of the day. I know, gee, tough life, a whole afternoon at an amusement park. But it's the music festival first, and that was the big thing for my husband. These were his students. His teaching on display. So a lot of stress built up over the past months – he needed an afternoon of riding flumes and eating hot dogs to recuperate from that.
Anyway, he was due home somewhere between 8:30 and 9:00 last night, and I wasn't sure if he'd be hungry at all, or how hungry. But I figured half a lobster wouldn't be that hard to consume.
But I was also thinking…only one lobster, divided between the two of us. Yeah, it's lobster…but it needed to go beyond mere lobsterhood.
I could make lobster salad sandwiches…they'd be good. But there's something simple and special about just dipping the lobster meat in melted butter. Another option was to make lobster cakes – I make a lot of seafood cakes out of bits and pieces of leftovers, so this would be easy.
But I couldn't decide which way to go…and so I figured I'd do all three.
(You didn't see that coming, did you?)
So here's what I did.
First, I boiled both lobsters and when they were cool, I picked out all the meat. I gave the meat of one lobster to the kids as part of their dinner. (Alex enjoyed his, Julia had fallen asleep and ended up going to bed early and didn't eat hers til this morning as a sort of breakfast appetizer.)
With the other lobster, I kept the big claws intact (the meat, I mean). Those pieces went into a small bowl of melted butter to hang out until later. I turned them now and then to coat the meat with the butter.
I cut the tail into chunks, cut a piece of celery into very small dice, and combined those with a bit of mayo.
I took the rest of the meat – from the little legs and the body, plus the tomalley, and chopped it up a bit, added a sliced garlic scallion and some crushed Ritz crackers and some melted butter, mixed it all together, and let it sit so the crackers could absorb the butter.
I put all three bowls of lobster in the fridge until much later.
Bill called me a little after 8:00. They had arrived back at the school, and he was waiting for a few parents to arrive and pick up the last of the kids.
I took out the bowls of lobster incarnations and started thinking about plating (yes). I put the bowl with the big claw meat in the microwave and gently warmed it up. Didn't want it hot, but I wanted the butter (which had solidified in the fridge) to melt and I wanted the meat warmed through.
I took two slices of white bread, trimmed the crusts, and cut each resultant square into two triangles. I melted some butter in a pan and very lightly grilled the toast triangles until they were golden.
I went out to the garden and picked two green curly lettuce leaves, two leaves of arugula, and some chives and chive blossoms.
I got out two plain white rectangular plates and I also took out a wedge of camembert from the fridge, just in case we were hungry after the lobster was gone. Always prepared, that's me.
I didn't want to make everything and then have it sit around getting cold or soggy, so I stopped about there until Bill arrived home. He started to tell me all about his day, but I shooed him from the kitchen and told him he could talk later. Go downstairs, I told him, and watch the ball game. I'll be there shortly.
Okay, time to roll.
I melted some butter (yeah, all I do is melt butter, it seems. But – it's lobster.) in a pan and formed the lobster/Ritz cracker mixture into two equal sized balls. I rolled them in flour, and when the butter in the pan had melted, I placed the lobster/cracker balls in the pan and pressed down a bit to transform them into cakes.
While those were browning, I made sure the lobster claws were warm (they were).
I flipped over the lobster cakes, and mixed up a little sauce for them of mayo, sesame oil, lemon juice, and chopped chives.
I put the piece of curly lettuce down on one end of the plate, set the lobster cake on it, and draped some sauce over the cake.
I put the claw in the middle of the plate and garnished it with a chive blossom.
And I put a piece of arugula on one of the bread triangles, topped that with a generous spoonful of lobster salad, and then put the other triangle atop the salad at a jaunty angle. (Yes, jaunty. For the photo.)
And here's how it looked. (Forgive the quality of the photo – lighting conditions were not the best.)
Bill said if he'd known he was having this when he got home, he'd have cut the trip short by a couple of hours. I think that's a pretty good compliment.
It was just enough for a small, late dinner/snack. And it was fun to put together, too.