Monday, June 28, 2010


There is a myth that lobster is fancy. The degree of fanciness or some might say stuffiness is based on the cooking method. Regardless of your view of lobster one thing that must be true, always, is the freshness of the lobster and the ingredients used to enhance it.

An additional myth is that to be indulged we must be overdressed, have waiters fawning over us and have an exorbitant bill at the end of the meal. Forget that. Throw your jeans on, go barefoot and be indulged in a state of one hundred per cent casualness.

A perfect example of indulgent casualness is the Brass Compass in Rockland , Maine . The Compass is the domain of chef/owner Lynn Archer. Lynn starts her day with the baking of fresh bread, a selection of pies and cakes and muffins the size of a good sized winch. She takes pride in what she serves and she treats both her customers and staff as extended members of the family.

Last fall she was challenged by Bobby Flay for a throw down. Poor Bobby. He didn’t stand a chance. Why? She bakes the bread, she knows the minute the lobsters are pulled from the sea, she knows who smoked the bacon and she only uses real mayonnaise. Most importantly, she knows that lobster can be enhanced but it should never be overpowered. Regardless of the dish, it is the freshness of the lobster you should taste first. Here is her recipe.

Lynn Archer, The Brass Compass Café
“The sweetness of the lobster should not be overpowered
by the mayo, so go light on it. I use the lobster to stick the
sandwich together.”
1¼ pound Maine lobster, cooked and meat removed, lightly mixed
with real mayonnaise, just enough to hold lobster meat together
2 Tablespoons real mayonnaise
3 thick slices homemade white bread
3-4 slices crisp cooked slab bacon
Few pieces crisp green leaf lettuce
1-2 slices thinly sliced large ripe tomato
Toast all bread slices lightly. On first piece, spread mayonnaise,
bacon, lettuce, and tomato and top with the second slice
of bread. Add all the lobster meat and top with mayonnaise
spread on the third slice. Cut in half diagonally, and enjoy!
You’ll have a huge lobster club, fit for a king (or queen).\

If you’re ever in the Midcoast stop in at the Brass Compass and prepare to indulge yourself. If you can’t make it to one of Lynn ’s tables than catch a rerun of the Lobster Club throw down on the Food Network. Neither will disappoint.

Monday, June 21, 2010


A down economy and the joy of summer do not mix. In past downturns skirts have lengthened, belts were tightened and meatloaf was served. Summer, regardless of economic trends, is sundresses, sandals and mojitos. While burgers and dogs from the grill are fun, occasionally a touch of luxury and indulgence is called for. Chill the wine, call eight to ten of your best girlfriends, have a fresh baguette and a beautiful salad at the ready. Where’s the indulgence? The most sumptuous, sinful, delicious lobster cakes you’ve ever had will complete a perfect night of food, friends and treats. Though the following recipe has lots of ingredients, it is easy to make. Your friends will never forget this shared indulgence. Learn, Savor, Enjoy!


• 14 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1 bunch scallions, sliced into thin rings
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 2 whole eggs, cold
• 2 cups heavy cream, icy cold
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
• 1 tablespoon Tabasco
• 1 pound fresh cooked lobster meat
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Chill the shrimp along with the bowl and blade of a food processor in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Sauté the scallions in 1 tablespoon butter until just wilted. Set aside to cool.

Place the shrimp in the processor and puree on high speed for 1 minute or until smooth and shiny. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add the eggs. Process until the mixture is smooth and shiny, about 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl again. With the machine running, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Scrape the bowl and process again to make sure the cream is completely incorporated. Remove the mixture and place in a bowl. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, and then gently fold in the cooled scallions and the crabmeat.

If serving as an appetizer, shape into two inch patties. If serving as a main course shape, into four inch patties. Over medium heat, cook the lobster cakes until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side until browned and cooked through. Remove the lobster cakes from the pan. Repeat the procedure until all of cakes have been cooked. (The cakes may be made up to 1 day ahead, up to this point, and refrigerated.)

Serve over fresh mixed greens with vinaigrette made from good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Lobstermen are an individualistic lot. They are independent, self sufficient and sometimes cantankerous. They often feel put upon by government and underappreciated by those ignorant of the amount of work necessary to achieve a season’s catch.

They are also nature lovers, conservationists by instinct and have a work ethic to match any original settler. There isn’t much whimsy in their work. Playfulness can lead to an error and an error can lead to an accident. That same accident can end a season and the livelihood of a fisherman.

There is one exception Lobster buoys. Each color set, each color placement, stripe, polka dot or color block is unique to each fisherman. The buoys are practical, colorful, whimsical and an indication of territory. Local lobstermen know the buoys of other lobstermen in their area and with rate exception respect the fishing territory they mark.

A primary pre-season task is to replace lost buoys from the previous year. Each buoy must be painted with its unique design before it can be used. Think about the labor involved in painting up to a hundred buoys per season with a usual minimum of three colors. Even if you like to paint it is tedious work. Yet the lobstermen take pride in their buoys as the brand of their work. It as iconic to a fisherman as a polo pony is to Ralph Lauren.