I’m kind of embarrassed to say I was late to the crustacean party. Don’t misunderstand, I’ve always loved shrimp. But when it came to Christmas and my family crowded around the kitchen table sucking on lobster legs, I excused myself. I can’t honestly remember why. Maybe it was all the work that seemed to be going into eating? One of my earliest memories is of a lobster scurrying in my direction across the kitchen floor in my uncle’s Jacksonville home. That’ll do a kid in for life.
I had my first lobster roll at 24 and I haven’t looked back. As a matter of fact, I’ve been looking forward rather gluttonously (I blame you, Mary). I generally forgo servings of mayo, but this? This mayo tossed lobster served on a buttery brioche roll? This was more than okay. This was I’m coming back next week good.
It’s been a love affair ever since, and I have no plan on giving up this mistress. My first night in Portland, Maine found my group at a sushi restaurant and me in the corner, trying very politely not to pout. The next evening I was breaking down my first whole lobster, reaping the rewards by the fingerful. In Montreal, I was introduced to quite possibly the best lobster roll I’ve ever had (thanks, Icehouse).
Wednesday evening, I took part in a hands-on lobster primer at the Astor Center, instructed by chef Emily Peterson. I missed the initial lobster sacrifice (you’re the best, Lincoln Tunnel, truly), but we did get into the nitty and gritty of preparing lobster four ways.
Moving clockwise from the top is the lobster bisque, lobster poached in Gewürztraminer and peach nectar, lobster fritters, chipotle-lime mayo and a mini lobster roll. That these four dishes were created in 2 hours was a miracle of teamwork. I can’t recommend the classes at the Astor Center enough, I only wish I knew about them while I was still at Cooper. They’re super affordable, very hands-on and come with the bonus of a sommelier-led wine tasting with your meal. I’ve taken three courses so far and while I’ve loved them all, my favorite is “The Art & Science of Making Cheese” (also with Emily). Then again, my love for all things cheese is no secret.