August 1, 2012

The Maine Ingredient: Shells make lobster ideal for the grill

By Brooke Dojny

Lobster is an excellent candidate for grilling, either split live or parboiled. (I give detailed instructions in "Lobster!", my just-released cookbook, or consult another reliable source.) When grilled, the shells cradle the meat, creating a natural and spectacular-looking cooking and serving container, while at the same time offering protection from the intensity of the heat. The sweet lobster flesh is enhanced by the smoky grill flavor, and the red shells develop an attractive black char here and there.

GRILLED LOBSTER WITH BASIL-LIME BUTTER

You might start the meal with a plate of crostini spread with goat cheese and criss-crossed with slivered sun-dried tomatoes. Accompany the lobster with buttered corn on-the-cob, crusty garlic bread (give it a final toasting on the grill for extra flavor) and chocolate silk pie (recipe follows).

Servings: 4 (half a large lobster per person)

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons slivered basil

1 tablespoon lime juice

1½ teaspoons grated lime zest

½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for water if par-boiling lobsters

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 large (1¾ to 2 pounds) live lobsters, or 4 smaller lobsters

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Paprika for sprinkling

Lime wedges

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the basil, lime juice, lime zest, salt and cayenne.

Parboil the lobsters, split them, and prepare for further cooking or split the lobsters live. Parboiled lobsters can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours; split live lobsters should be cooked within about 1 hour.

Build a moderately hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Rub lobster shells with the oil. Place on the grill cut sides up, brush meat with butter mixture and sprinkle with paprika. Cover grill lid or place a shallow metal roasting pan over the lobsters. Cook, without turning, brushing once or twice with more flavored butter, until the meat is a creamy opaque white but still juicy, 10 to 15 minutes if raw, 8 to 10 minutes if parboiled. (If using smaller lobsters, they will take less time to cook.)

Transfer to a platter or serving plates, brush with more of the butter, and serve with lime wedges.

CHOCOLATE SILK PIE

This classic chocolate cream pie is exactly the right thing after a grilled lobster dinner. The filling nestles in a toasty graham cracker crust and is smooth as silk and deeply chocolatey.

Servings: 8

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUMB CRUST:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (see note)

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

CHOCOLATE FILLING:

4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1½ cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

6 egg yolks

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces

1½ teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder

1 teaspoon dark rum

CREAM TOPPING:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust, combine the crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a bowl and stir with a fork until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. (The back of a spoon or the bottom of a glass works well.) Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until deep golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Fill immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

(Continued on page 2)

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