Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Comfort Food: Lobster Rolls and Loving the Red Hook Lobster Pound!

Each weekend, we take a trip to Brooklyn to do our grocery shopping and some gastronomic exploring. It is an excursion I look forward to with delight, to find new ingredients to cook with, new places to eat, and new dishes to try to recreate at home in the little ethnic neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

When we discovered the Red Hook Lobster Pound on Van Brunt Street in Brooklyn—I knew I had hit the jackpot. A storefront that sells the freshest of lobsters from Maine to take home and cook (and they sell the lobster pots to cook them in—nice, deep pots for steaming or boiling), they also have a brisk and wildly popular business selling Maine and Connecticut lobster rolls for take out or to eat-in at the lovely Maine-inspired patio dining room next door. We love to order the rolls and sit in on the lovely picnic tables hand-crafted by owner Ralph Gorham, and study the lobster lore featured on the walls of the eatery. There are also benches outside for al fresco eating for the crowds that line up down the street to sample the delicious rolls. Two lobster rolls are offered—the Maine version—a chilled lobster salad with mayonnaise, scallions and celery is a favorite of my husband and daughter, while the Connecticut version, served warm and topped with lots of melted butter and chopped chives and scallions, is the best food discovery I have made in a long time. They also sell a steamed lobster dinner for eat-in or take out, with corn on the cob, and a choice of cole slaw and potato salad, and a host of sodas from Maine. And if the lobster rolls are not enough, they offer whoopee pies and Maine blueberry cupcakes for dessert.

Since lobster is an excellent low fat source of Protein, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Copper and Magnesium, and a good source of Fiber, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium—it can make for guilt free eating (even with the butter and bun!) I have taken to bringing lobsters home to steam and crack open with friends over a great bottle of wine, and have even created my own Lobster Pound-inspired version of the Connecticut roll. All I need is a sandy beach outside my Manhattan apartment building and life will be grand indeed…

Connecticut Lobster Roll (inspired by Red Hook Lobster Pound)

¼ cup chopped scallion greens (about 2 scallions)

¼ cup melted butter

1 tbsp. chopped chives

1 pound cooked lobster meat, roughly chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 lobster roll buns or hot dog buns

On a griddle or in a skillet, add 1 tbsp. melted butter. Add lobster meat. With a pastry brush, add additional melted butter onto lobster, and sauté, turning lightly until warmed through. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Butter insides of lobster roll and toast, butter sides down, on the griddle alongside lobster until lightly browned and toasty—about 3 minutes. Fill each with a generous 1/2 cup of the lobster, top with scallions and chives and serve immediately.