Lobster isn’t Just Food, it’s Tradition (Plus a Recipe!)

For months, my social media feeds have been flooded with dreamy images of ice cream, summer produce, and locally-caught seafood. New Hampshire summers are very food-centric, and for many native Granite Staters, these foods are tradition. For me, this is especially true of lobster. As a kid, the Isles of Shoals was my home away from home. I grew up on the Seacoast and was raised on the ocean. Lobster isn’t just food, it’s tradition. Those little sea critters are nostalgic symbols of my childhood. I don’t spend a lot of time on the ocean anymore, but I still make an effort to celebrate lobster all summer long.

Three or four years ago, my mom and I made a deal to get to Ray’s Seafood in Rye every summer for an annual lobster “feast.” Steamed, with a side of fries, and a basket of steamers is arguably the best way to eat lobster (followed closely by a really good lobster roll).

Steamed with a side of fries

Annual trip to Ray’s Seafood restaurant: check!

After years of forgetting and missing it (oops), my partner and I finally made it to the annual Hampton Beach Seafood Festival this past weekend. There was live music, fresh lemonade, and plenty of classic fair food. We ate the most delicious lobster seafood stew (in a bread bowl, of course) and split a lobster roll, too.

Lobster seafood stew in a bread bowl at the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival

Visit to the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival: check!

Earlier this summer, I was invited to a lobster bake at a friend’s. I was lucky enough to go home with a leftover lobster. I considered reheating the poor little guy and just eating him as is, but given that this meal would be eaten in my apartment and alone, this seemed too weird. So, instead, I whipped up this easy spaghetti with lobster sauce (loosely inspired by my favorite pasta dish, linguine with clams).

Spaghetti with Lobster Sauce

Spaghetti with Lobster Sauce

1 leftover steamed lobster
1 big pinch salt
1 serving spaghetti noodles, cooked according to package instructions (in salted water)
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. fresh, minced parsley
Freshly ground, black pepper (to taste)
Squeeze of fresh lemon

  1. Remove your cold, leftover lobster from the shell. Place the shells in a small saucepan, and place the meat in a separate bowl.
  2. Add two cups of cold water and a big pinch of salt to the saucepan. Cover pot and bring shells and water to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for at least a half hour.
  3. Strain the broth, preserving the liquid. Toss the shells. Set aside the broth and prepare the remaining ingredients. If you haven’t already, start your spaghetti. Chop the lobster meat and mince the garlic and parsley.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and lobster meat. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes. Gradually, add the broth, a quarter cup or so at a time. The broth should reduce, creating a sauce.
  5. Remove your pasta when it is not quite al dente and add to your skillet. The spaghetti will soak up excess liquid and continue cooking. It is ready when the pasta is al dente and there is a bit of sauce remaining.
  6. Sprinkle your dish with a bit of parsley, freshly ground back pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.

Recipe Notes:

  • I had extra broth, so I labeled a bag and threw the rest in the freezer. Who knows what I will use it for. Perhaps a lobster risotto or a bisque is in my future.
  • This recipe would be delicious with shallots, spinach, kale, or white wine. I am a use-what-you-have kind of cook, but be creative, the world is your oyster (lobster?).
  • As a long-time lobster lover, it may surprise you to hear this was the first time I had ever cooked with lobster meat. Honestly, the idea of leftover lobster was a completely new concept to me (we always just ate them all). If the idea of leftover lobster is ludicrous to you, I have often seen cold, steamed lobsters in the seafood department at Market Basket (another classic New England staple).

How do you celebrate your favorite New Hampshire summer staple?

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