Is there a more quintessential Cape summer meal than a lobster? The traditional “clam bake” is so named because it usually includes steamed clams (“steamers”, or “steamahs” in the local vernacular) along with the steamed lobster, corn on the cob and potatoes. The whole shebang is often cooked in the same pot, or if you have access to a beach and a permit, in a pit lined with seaweed, wet newspaper and covered in sand to allow everything to steam and is basically a vehicle for the copious amounts of melted butter that is served along side. It is a messy affair, but oh so tasty and fun.
We used to do the traditional feast, complete with our young nephews playing with the live lobsters before they met their fate in the pot of steaming water. It was quite the novelty for our Chicago nephews on their annual visit, and how I finally became officially known as “Auntie Duv”, when Billy, all of 6 years old, shouted “Duv hurry”, when his bravery waned with the feisty critter he was holding until I could pop it into the pot.
Now that the kids are older, we skip the theatrics with the live lobsters and I’ve taken to having our local fish market, Cape Fish & Lobster, do the cooking for us. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of that basic lobster boil and all that butter, so I decided I’d split the lobsters and slather on a compound butter and finish them on the grill. The verdict was overwhelming, elevating the entire experience and I’ve never gone back. I’ve experimented with several butters, but the most popular are Garlic, Jalapeno & Cilantro, Chipotle, Garlic & Cilantro, and Ginger, Garlic & Cilantro. Snaps to Cape Fish & Lobster . . . I ask them to cook them slightly under (5 mins), split and clean them. Oh so much easier and they don’t charge.
My brother Gary and his family were coming down for a visit and he requested we do lobsters if we hadn’t done them yet, We hadn’t and we were ready to do so. We invited my parents over and my brother Mark and his wife decided to come down for the night, so it was a partial family reunion, which was so much fun given we hadn’t seen each other in months. I whipped up the butters, made potato salad and steamed up some native corn. Gary brought some steak tips for the kids that don’t love lobster and we had a super fun, festive night. Can you tell??
KTINA’S POTATO SALAD
- 3 pounds red skinned potatoes skins scrubbed clean and cut into 1-2” cubes (8 cups)
- 3 Celery Stalks diced (1 cup)
- 1 small or ½ medium red onion cut into ½-1” dice (cut into sixths then sliced) –(1 cup)
- ¼ Cup fresh Dill chopped
- 1 Cup Mayonnaise
- 2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 TBSP Dijon Mustard
- 1 TBSP + 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
- Place the potatoes in a medium stock pot and cover with 8 cups of water, making sure there’s at least 2” to the top. Add 1 TBSP salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes until they a knife is easily inserted but not mushy.
- Drain potatoes and return to the pan. Partially cover and allow to cool.
- While the potatoes are cooling, chop the onions and celery and place in a large bowl (large enough to add the potatoes and have room to toss).
- Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, 1 tsp salt, pepper and dill together to make dressing.
- Add the potatoes to the onion and celery. They should be warm, but not hot.
- Add the dressing and toss to blend.
- Take a large chef’s knife and run through the potatoes to break them up a bit.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 1 hour.
- Skip the fancy potato gloves and just open a new scrubby sponge and use it to clean the potatoes then use it to wash the dishes.