The simple and butterific version of this dish has been served at the Maine Diner in Wells, Maine, for the past quarter-century or so. Here, we made the shopping list a bit easier on your wallet by adding a bit of moist, grated vegetable to the lobster filling. And we cut back on the butter. You won't miss it.
If you buy lobster that has been freshly steamed at the store, the preparation is clean and simple; if you choose to boil your own, you’ll need the meat from two 1 1/4-pound lobsters; allow for an extra 15 to 20 minutes.
The green tomalley augments the lobster flavor here, but it can be omitted.
This can be made in a 1-quart baking dish as well. If you’re not pressed for time, the dish can be assembled, covered and refrigerated for up to 8 hours in advance. Allow to come to room temperature for 1 hour before baking.
Serve with a salad.
Servings: 2 - 3
- Meat from two 1 1/4-pound cooked lobsters (see headnote)
- 1 teaspoon lobster tomalley (optional; see headnote)
- 2 lemons
- 1 medium yellow squash or zucchini
- 16 low-sodium Ritz crackers, plus a few more for texture (optional)
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup seafood broth or clam juice
- Water (optional)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Small handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Have two or three 12- to 16-ounce ramekins or heatproof gratin dishes at hand.
Chop the lobster meat into chunks to yield about 2 cups, transferring it to a mixing bowl along with the teaspoon of tomalley, if using.
Finely grate the zest from 1 lemon to yield 2 teaspoons, and reserve it. Squeeze enough juice from the zested fruit to yield 2 tablespoons, right over the lobster meat in the bowl. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges for serving. Trim off and discard the ends of the squash or zucchini, then use the large-holed side of a box grater to grate it, yielding about 1 1/2 cups (do not squeeze out any moisture). Add the grated vegetable to the lobster meat and lemon juice, mixing to incorporate, then divide evenly among the ramekins or gratin dishes, mounding the mixture as needed.
Crush the crackers to yield 1 cup of crumbs; if desired, crush 2 or 3 more and keep separate to apply just before baking.
Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cracker crumbs and stir to coat; cook for about 4 minutes, stirring, until fragrant and lightly toasted. Stir in the lemon zest.
Taste the broth or clam juice; if it seems too salty, dilute with water. Stir into the cracker crumb mixture. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Use the mixture to evenly and completely cover the lobster mixture in each ramekin or baking dish. If desired, sprinkle the extra dry, crushed crackers evenly over the top of each portion. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until just heated through.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave on HIGH. Finely chop the parsley.
Carefully transfer the hot lobster pies to individual plates. Garnish with the parsley leaves and serve with lemon wedges. Pass the melted butter at the table for drizzling on each portion.
Adapted from "Lobster! 55 Fresh and Simple Recipes for Everyday Eating," by Brooke Dojny (Storey Publishing, 2012).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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