Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Home" Sweet Home

I know I said that maybe I'd have other things to do today besides blog, and that's true. I did accomplish many, many hosing off the back porches, vacuuming up about a thousand bugs that have somehow migrated into the house (the charms of east coast living), finishing the enormous and mysteriously multiplying pile of laundry, and taking the dog out for a much needed trot to reacquaint ourselves with the hood. But when I've cooked something delicious, I like to share it with you and when I've captured great photos of my subject, it makes it even more fun.

Take, for example, this lobster. I picked him live and wriggling out of the tank, and 15 minutes later, he was steaming hot and ready to go. Talk about fresh about fast food. Now I know that folks can be squeamish about such things, but lobsters are good and worth the extra effort they take to prepare. If you are uncomfortable holding the lid down so frantic lobsters can't escape the boiling water, have your fishmonger steam them for you. Most will, at no or little extra cost, and you save yourself the time (and trauma) of doing it yourself. I don't mind doing it myself, but it was one less thing to have to deal with for my dinner tonight. And if you are uncomfortable directly having a hand in the death of another living creature, don't even get me started on how many different dead cows were blended into the last burger you ate...

Tonight we had lobster corn chowder. Eastern corn is so lovely, sweet and delicate. Its tiny little kernels looked like shimmering pearls when I cut them from the cob. The rich stock was flavored with the lobster shells and the corn cobs (and a little Better than Bouillon Lobster Stock), and thickened only with a bit of flour and pureed corn, so it's not nearly as rich as other chowders that are heavily laden with cream. Accompanied by a loaf of artisan bread and a hearty salad (provided by my mom-in-law) and it made for a perfect light supper on a cool summer's (late spring's) eve, and a wonderful reminder of Cape Cod's bounty.

The recipe calls for purchasing and preparing the lobsters yourself. If you'd like to give that a go, check here and here with more specific instructions on how to do that. But if you'd prefer, your fishmonger will most likely be able to cook your lobsters for you (it takes about 15 minutes). For a meal like this, when the lobster meat is thrown in at the end, it's a great way to save time. But don't just buy lobster meat out of the shells because you need them to create a depth of flavor in your soup stock. This soup would be a beautiful first course, or a light dinner (with a bread and salad).

Lobster Chowder
serves 6-8 as a first course, 4 as a main course

2 live (or recently cooked by your fishmonger) 1 1/2 pound lobsters in their shells
1 yellow onion
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
3 cups of fresh corn kernels cut from cobs (from 3 ears), reserve cobs and split in half
8 C reserved water from boiling lobsters (or fresh water with 4 t of lobster or seafood base or 8 C of your favorite seafood stock)
6 small Yukon gold potatoes, cut into a 1/4 inch dice
1 zucchini, cut into a 1/4 inch dice
6 scallions, sliced
1/4 C flour
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1/4 C chopped parsley

Boil lobsters in 8 cups of water in a large dutch oven (if you are having your fishmonger cook yours for you ignore this step). Reserve boiling water and remove meat from claws and tail, first snipping the tips of the claws over a colander set over a bowl (you're going to use all that juice), setting those shells aside. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Melt butter and oil together and add onion and saute for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add reserved lobster shells and corn cobs and continue to cook for 4 minutes more.

Add lobster cooking water (or 8 c of lobster or seafood stock) and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain broth through cheesecloth-lined colander over a large bowl. Heat remaining butter and oil and saute 4 green onions until soft, 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, puree 1 C of the corn kernels with 1 C of the lobster stock. Add to pot with flour and whisk until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Return the remaining stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Add diced potatoes and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Add zucchini and corn to the pot and simmer for 2 minutes more. Add reserved lobster and heat through (about 1-2 minutes). Garnish with remaining chopped scallions and chopped parsley.


Laurie said...

Alison, you're here! How exciting. I loved reading about your trip cross country. I have wanted to do that ever since I can remember. Hopefully someday...

Are you here for the whole summer. What town are you staying in? Maybe we could meet for coffee or a walk sometime.

Anonymous said...

looks divine...i'll have to give it a try:)

Alison said...

Laurie, I'm in!

Rebecca, you should. It is so yummy.