Once known as “the poor man’s chicken” in the early 1800s, lobster is now an expensive delicacy. And if you’ve ever had lobster, then you know that the best lobsters in the world live in the clean, cold waters off the coast of Maine. Every restaurant within a hundred miles of the coast has some form of lobster on its menu, and it’s definitely tough to pick favorites. But below is a list of the best five meals I had over a two-week, lobster-loaded vacation.
1. Lobster Risotto (with bonus scallops)
A common way for chefs to use all the lobster possible from their catch, lobster risotto is a creamy, flavorful dish that chefs can put their own personal touches on. My dish was garnished with arugula, and as a bonus, I got a handful of succulent grilled scallops to boot. The steamed lobster cradled in the thick risotto was delicious and the risotto itself was so thick it reminded me of mashed potatoes, but without the heaviness.
2. Lobster Omelette
The list certainly wouldn’t be complete without a breakfast addition. One morning, we ate at a little breakfast shack and I had a lobster omelette filled with fresh lobster, red peppers, onions, and garnished with chives, and man oh man was it good.
I never would have put lobster on my list of go to breakfast meats, but now it is right up there with sausage and bacon. The subtle saltiness of the lobster and the light fluffy egg of the omelette paired perfectly. Served with a hot cup of coffee at your table on the water and you’ve got a perfect New England breakfast.
3. Seafood Paella
Now you might say this one is cheating because it’s not just lobster, but it was too good for me not to include. This dish was lobster, mussels, shrimp, and scallops served over the classic paella rice, and featured all the great flavors of the Maine coast.
The lobster certainly stole the show with thick, juicy claws, but the mussels made a case for themselves as the main focus too. Now I didn’t forget the shrimp, but if they’re more your speed, check out this recipe for shrimp paella.
4. The Classic Lobster Roll
If you go to Maine and you don’t eat a lobster roll, I’m pretty sure they can arrest you. It’s the classic, go-to lunch for visitor and local alike, and whether you get it at a port-side lobster pound or on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park, it’s sure to be delicious.
The local way is just lettuce, mayo, and fresh claw meat and even if that’s all you get, it’s a real treat. The ones we had used big leaves of romaine lettuce and had caesar side salad to accompany, and a great view in the national park too. If you just can’t get enough lobster in your life and you’re in the area, check out these great places to get a roll too.
5. Fresh, Steamed Whole Lobster
The king of the crop, the jewel of the sea, and the treat of the trip. Of all the ways you could serve lobster, none beat fresh, steamed, whole lobster. There’s something special about cracking open your own claws, pulling the meat from the tail, and dousing all the juicy bites in warm garlic butter. It’s served best with grilled sweet corn, an ice cold beer, and a table full of friends and family.