Sails and Tails

Throw a proper Maine lobster bake–anywhere

from Tasting Table Everywhere, Jun 23, 2009

windjammer-lgThe water in New England is still a bit chilly for swimming, but no matter: When Yankees get sand between their toes, their first thoughts are not of sunscreen and snorkels, but of lobster and lemon butter.

Well-timed to coincide with the recent plunge in lobster prices, a new cookbook features a lobster-bake tutorial from the masters: schooner captains from Maine, the lobster capital of America.

Windjammer Cooking, by Jean Kerr and Spencer Smith, is a collection of recipes from the state’s windjammers: old fishing schooners that have been repurposed for passenger cruises. On every cruise, the captain anchors at a swath of sand and fires up an all-you-can-eat lobster bake.

Here’s how it’s done:
1. Cover the bottom of your largest pot or a galvanized-steel kettle with 2 to 3 inches of seawater (or lightly salted water). Position the pot over an open fire. Bring the water to a boil and add lobsters. Pile clams, mussels or other shellfish on top. Next, add a layer of onions, garlic and potatoes. Cover with a thin layer of seaweed and add corn (in the husk, but with the ends trimmed to save space).

2. Cover everything with a thick layer of seaweed, cover the pot and let steam for about 20 minutes. When finished, the potatoes should be tender, the shellfish should be open and the lobster meat should be white and firm. Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.

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