To many people, it just isn’t summer without cracking a few lobsters in the Maine sunshine. With a year-round lobster industry that’s centuries old and 6,000-plus lobstermen, Maine is home to some serious lobster love. Here are a few of the best ways to enjoy Lobster season in Maine.
The Maine Events
Firmly embedded in Maine’s mentality as a go-to seafood choice, it’s a no-brainer that this beloved crustacean would have a few of its own celebrations.
Maine’s Lobster Ride & Roll. Rockland, ME (July 20, 2014)
Sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, this trip follows winding country lanes before taking to the breathtaking coast past lighthouses and lobster boats.
67th Annual Maine Lobster Festival. Rockland, ME (July 30 – August 3, 2014)
This five-day event features parades, arts and crafts, an amateur cooking contest, lobster crate races and all the fresh hot Maine lobster you can eat, served with local Cabot butter, of course.
3rd Annual Claw Down. East Boothbay, ME (September 18, 2014)
Celebrity Chef Michele Ragussis hosts this lobster bite competition at the Ocean Point Marina Boatyard. For your $60 ticket, you can sample over a dozen different lobster creations prepared by local chefs and cast your vote for your favourite bite.
Keep your eye out for a few 2013 events that should return this year””the Lobsterpalooza in the Penosbscot Bay Region, Harvest on the Harbor in Portland, the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year Competition in Portland and The Maine’s Fisherman’s Forum in Rockland.
Lobster Boat Tours
Lobster Boat Tours are a great way to get out on the water, enjoy Maine’s scenic coastline and learn about lobster harvesting from an expert. Find out how the harvesters are protecting their valuable lobster resources as well as the pristine ocean environment for generations to come. Try your luck with Lucky Catch Cruises in Portland, which brings you to Casco Bay for a day in the life of a Maine lobsterman, or check out LuLu’s Lobster Boats, the only lobster boat tour in Bar Harbor hosted on a traditional Downeast-style lobster boat.
Although it’s celebrated nationally on 15th June, there’s no reason why every day can’t be Lobster Day. Whether broiled, grilled, steamed or baked, Maine lobster plays a starring role on most menus, from sophisticated restaurants to rough-hewn shanties with picnic tables set along the coast. Check out Maine’s award-winning lobster shacks, including The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport (and its well-known owner Steve Kingston) – a multi-year winner of the national Lobster Roll Rumble competition. Otherwise, Waterman’s Beach Lobster in South Thomaston and Bagaduce Lunch in Brooksville are James Beard “classic” winners for their lobster dishes. If you want to add a side of elegance to your meal, top-notch fine dining also heralds excellent lobster dishes. Look for Arrows in Ogunquit, Fore Street in Portland and Primo in Rockland.
Boiling and steaming are the methods of choice when serving whole lobsters. Boiling is a little quicker and easier to time precisely, and the meat comes out of the shell more readily than when steamed.
Take a look at our recipe for Grilled Lobster Quesadillas (from Eddy Lobster Company) for the ultimate DIY lobster feast:
2 cups Teleme cheese
2 cups jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup green onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons cilantro
6 quarts water
1 Tablespoon salt
4 Maine lobsters, 1-pound each
8 flour tortillas
Combine the cheeses, green onion, and cilantro. Set aside.
In a very large stock pot, over high heat, bring 6 quarts water to a boil and add one-tablespoon salt. Add the Maine Lobsters to the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the lobsters, drain and cool. Remove the claws and pull the meat from the shell, cut through the head and tail lengthwise and pull out the tail meat in 2 whole pieces. Season the tail and claw meat with salt and pepper and set aside.
Preheat the grill to medium hot. Rub the Maine Lobster meat with the compound butter – do not leave too much excess or it will burn when cooking. Let sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, place the cut sides of the lobster facing down on the grill and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn over and cook for one more minute or until the lobster meat is opaque, about 3 minutes. Slice the lobster pieces into medallions and keep warm.
To make the quesadilla, brush the outside of the tortilla with butter. Place buttered side down on a flat griddle. Spread ½ cup of cheese on half the tortilla, top with the grilled lobster. Fold the empty side on top of the cheese-covered side and griddle until golden brown. Flip the quesadilla over and griddle on the other side. Remove from heat, let sit for 1 minute, then cut into wedges.
Have you experienced lobster season in Maine? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Cheryl Fenton