This grilled cheese lobster sandwich is a great way to enjoy Maine’s favorite crustacean. Dina Mendros photo

The late David Sturtevant, a longtime social worker in southern Maine and late blooming, excellent home chef had a roster of no-fail delicious recipes from moist and flavorful grilled chicken, a wicked cheeseburger, and out-of-this world nachos –both hamburg and the to-die-for barbecue chicken style. But, even better then these culinary feats, his lobster recipes, stew for Christmas Eve and a sandwich – no, not a roll – for the summer could not be beat. So if you’re up for something simple but scrumptious try one, or both, of these recipes

Dave’s Lobster Stew

Feeds 4 with leftovers, or 8 big bowls

The secret to Dave’s stew wasn’t what was in it, most lobster stew recipes are similar with varying. amounts of lobster; butter; cream, milk, and or half and half or a combination; and a few other additions, depending on taste. No, the secret to his wicked good flavor was sautéing the large lumps of lobster meat low and slow in butter and putting it together with the other ingredients the day before you plan to serve it so the flavors can meld together.

Since it was a once a year event, David went all out and used 2 lbs. of fresh lobster meat but you can halve or double the recipe depending on the number of mouths to feed or the amount of leftovers you want as the stew will keep for two days.

Ingredients

2 lbs. Fresh lobster meat broken into large pieces– yes, you can use frozen but it won’t be quite as tasty; many argue the claws and knuckles are the most flavorful but you can also use tail meat if you like.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 shallots, minced

¼ cup Sherry

1 qt. Half and half

(Can replace 1 or 2 cups of half and half with same amount of lobster stock)

1 qt. Light cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Chopped chives for garnish (optional)

Paprika (optional)

Melt all but two tbsps. butter and melt on medium low heat in a large sauce pan. When melted, add all the lobster and sautée for a few minutes, then add sherry and continue to sautée, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes total. Keep an eye and lower temperature if needed to prevent butter from browning. Then take off the heat. In a large pot, add remaining butter, melt on medium low heat and add shallots and sautée for a few minutes until softened. Add the cream and half and half (and lobster stock if using) and warm for 15 minutes or so. Add the lobster meat mixture and salt and pepper to taste and heat on low for another half-hour. Cover and refrigerate.

The next day, take the pot out of the refrigerator and put it on medium low heat with cover on. If you take the cover off you will notice a hard layer of butter on the top. You can break it up a little and then as heating continue to take off cover and break up butter, once butter is completely melted, stew should be warmed up enough to eat. This process can take 20 to 30 minutes or more. Do not get impatient and bring to a boil or cream with curdle.

When ready to eat, spoon into bowls, garnish with chopped chives and paprika if desired.

Serve with oyster crackers, toasted baguette, or nothing at all.

Leftovers can be refrigerated and kept for one day.

Dave’s Grilled Cheese Lobster Sandwich

Serves four

1 lb. Lobster Meat, cut into bite size chunks

Mayonnaise to taste

Lemon (optional)

8 slices Sourdough Bread

4 slices Havarti Cheese

Pesto Mayonnaise

Sliced Tomato (optional)

8 slices cooked Bacon (optional)

Butter

Mix the lobster meat with mayonnaise to taste, I usually use two to three tablespoons, and a couple of squirts of lemon juice. (You can use the pesto mayonnaise to mix with the lobster meat if you choose.) Spread pesto mayonnaise on one side of each of the 8 slices of bread. Place the lobster meat mixture on four slices of bread — on side spread with pesto mayonnaise — top with tomato and bacon if using one or both and then top with cheese, top each sandwich with another slice of bread, on the side spread with pesto mayonnaise. Use a skillet or flat top grill to cook the sandwiches. Butter the skillet or grill or each side of the outsides of the bread and grill the four sandwiches for a few minutes on each side, until the cheese melts and sandwich is warm throughout. Serve immediately with chips, French fries and/or coleslaw.

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