Saturday, May 31, 2008

Lobster quest and learning to fry

We're out on the East Coast for a little tour of New England. Of course, that means finding interesting things to eat. We started in Maine, so that meant lobster. Lobster stew, lobster bisque, lobster pie, lobster in phyllo, steamed lobster...and then steamed clams, fried clams, clam chowder, fried haddock. fried scallops...and that was Maine. New Hampshire was just one night, and that was meat loaf at a diner on Main Street in a small town. In Burlington, Vermont, we hung out downtown on the opening night of a jazz festival, and found some good and inexpensive steaks. Best thing so far? A simple lobster stew, at The Lobster Dock in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I asked the owner how it was made, and he said, "Simply." Just a good lobster stock, made with mirepoix and shells, combined with half-and-half, and lobster sauteed in butter until just done and added to the broth. My mouth waters at the memory of it. The most striking thing so far has been the excellent quality of fried seafood we have eaten. I'm talking about the coatings -- light, crispy, and not oily. I had the most amazing fried scallops at Shaw's in the Pemaquod area, the best scallops I've ever eaten anywhere. Over and over I asked the kitchen what they use, and every time part of the answer was "clam fry." What in the heck is clam fry? I scoured grocery stores and found fish fry, clam batter, and various other names for a mixture that includes corn flour and seasonings. So I've picked up six different kinds and will experiment with them when we get home. (Just what we need, another 10 pounds of fish coating to carry along with the grade B maple syrup and blueberry soda I've also picked up.)

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