And while we're talking about summer food, how about a lobster roll?
February has arrived and, even though it's been a relatively tame winter, I'm still sick of squash. I don't care what any groundhogs have to say about six more weeks of winter: I want it to be summer in my mouth, and if I have to spend my entire book advance on lobsters to make that happen, then so be it. Incidentally, I think we need to find a more translucent animal than a groundhog to make these kinds of shadow-based weather predictions. Like a jellyfish. Or something nocturnal like a bat. It's hard to see your own shadow in complete darkness. Are there any cute but completely blind animals?
Awkward segue back to lobsters: This is a very basic but totally delicious lobster roll technique. The idea is to let the lobster shine. The scallions and celery are barely there for a little color and crunch, not to compete with the lobster. There's just one thing I insist upon. Toast the buns. Toast them, people. It makes all the difference in the world.
Classic New England Lobster Roll
Serve with a green salad or not.
2 1-1/2-lb. lobsters, steamed (instructions here), cooled
2-4 Tbsp. mayo
1-2 scallions, chopped
2-inch piece of celery, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Squeeze of lemon juice
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
New England-style hot dog rolls (the ones that top-load and have flat sides for toasting)
Remove tail and claw meat (including the delicious arms!). Chop lobster meat into bite-sized chunks. Mix with mayo, scallions, celery, salt, lemon juice, and cayenne. Refrigerate until cold.
When ready to serve, heat skillet over medium heat. Butter the pan and the sides of the rolls (I do this by rubbing the stick of butter over the hot skillet, then rubbing the melty stick all over the sides of the roll, repeating until roll is sufficiently buttery). Toast buns several minutes on each side until golden. Let cool a few minutes, then stuff with dressed lobster. Serves 3-4.
Lobsters: Rockport lobsterman via Cape Ann Fresh Catch, Gloucester, MA