Despite growing up in a land-locked state, I have had the great fortune of having extended family who dwell along the seacoast in southern Maine. Every childhood visit there involved a trip to the lobster pound to buy a dozen of the live little crustaceans followed by a casual family feast of the delicious delicacies. We sat around a table, excited with white plastic bibs tied around our necks and claw-crackers in hand. The Vermonters at the table would always ask the Mainers to show them how to efficiently extract the meat from the tail, claws, legs and torso. My cousin Ty would explain that her Aunt Wendy always ate the “green stuff” and as kids we would squeal with disgust and fascination. Now, like the legendary Aunt Wendy, I too eat the “green stuff.” This internal part of the lobster, called Tomalley, is actually the liver and pancreas of the animal. So that explains why I find it so flavorful, which it is, FYI. Aunt Wendy is a smart woman. A big bucket in the center of the table served as a sort of basket ball hoop for shells to be tossed after the precious meat had been consumed.
These lobster dinners, which were served with a 1/4 cup of drawn butter for dipping, toasted English muffins, corn on the cob and a fresh garden salad were all I ever knew of eating lobster. For many years I rolled my eyes at over-priced lobster on restaurant menus. In truth because I just couldn’t bear to eat it outside of this nostalgic familial context. And thanks to a recent tutorial from one of my favorite Mainers, I finally learned how to make it.
Classic Steamed Maine Lobster Dinner
Serve with a fresh garden salad and corn on the cob
- 8 live Maine lobsters
- 2 sticks salted butter, melted and divided into 2 tablespoon portions
- 8 English muffins, toasted and buttered
Using a large steamer pot, bring water to a boil. Add the live lobsters, cover and steam for 17 minutes until bright red. Remove lobsters from the pot and serve with the drawn butter and muffins.