It's Hot! - Lobster Gazpacho is a Cool Choice
Easily made, flavorful picnic provisions
For me, it started with my maternal grandmother who was a fabulous cook and hostess. She could make anything and it was all from scratch. I have her book of recipes which is falling apart, but the fun thing about it is she doesn't always give the exact measurement for ingredients - it was more about how it looked, felt and tasted while she was preparing something. There are a lot of cooks and chefs who can do that - and I admire them greatly. I can do that a bit, but my sister is a master.
My fraternal grandmother wasn't a fabulous cook, but she knew her lobster. Her mantra was simple: "Don't hide the taste of the lobster." In other words don't try to create a lobster dish that has so much stuff in it you can't find the lobster. Lobster is great all by itself. She was the inspiration for my current passion - Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co.
I grew up working for her at her lobster restaurant and helping folks "from away" master the art of eating lobsters and clams.
The gist of the company is creating lobster dishes that are easy, convenient, comfortable and elegant all in one. After living in the Midwest for several years and understanding how folks away from the coast think about lobster, I felt it was important to help them enjoy lobster more. We take the fuss out of eating lobster so anyone can enjoy it anytime.
My coastal kitchen is in Cundy's Harbor - that's were most of my "taste testing" happens. It's also a working harbor with lots of fishing and lobstering going on year- round. My neighbors love being part of the first wave of taste testers for any new products we're developing. I live there with my husband, Jack and two golden retrievers, Gus and Sally.
This column will focus on food, preparation tips, recipes, great new food finds, helpful hints, and anything else you would like to focus on. It won't be just about lobster and seafood, but all kinds of food. I welcome your feedback.
The beginning of summer always makes me think of eating outside. There are lots of places to think about when eating outdoors - on the deck, porch or patio, on a boat, on the dock, on the beach, in a field of daisies. Part of what makes it fun is the ceiling - sunny blue sky or beautiful stars (hopefully without bugs that bite).
Usually it means we have to "transport" the food, plates, utensils, glasses, etc. somewhere other than to our kitchen table or dining room. So to me, that means - do something easy. One of my favorite things is gazpacho for either an appetizer or the main event.
At Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. we have perfected a recipe for Lobster Gazpacho. This is actually easy to make ahead and easy to carry around to any outdoor location. It does need to be refrigerated so it should be carried in a big thermos or placed in a container in a cooler. It tastes great served with crusty bread or savory puff pastry breadsticks. Feel free to spice it up with more jalapeno peppers or even a touch of hot pepper sauce. One ingredient that is optional is adding a touch of vodka or sake - makes for a lively party.
5-cups tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1-cup red bell pepper, chopped
1-cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2-cups cucumber, peeled, chopped
1/2-cup red onion, diced
1/2-cup olive oil
1/4-cup balsamic vinegar
1/2-cup lobster or clam broth or 1/2-cup vegetable juice
Juice of one lime
1/4-cup cilantro, chopped
1/2-cup jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
1/4-tsp. ground coriander
1/2-tsp. black pepper
12-oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (leave a couple of the claws whole)
1/2-cup vodka or sake (optional)
In batches, process tomatoes, red pepper, green pepper, cucumber, onion, olive oil, vinegar, broth and lime juice in food processor until medium to finely chopped.
Stir in cilantro, jalapeno, coriander, salt and pepper and 1/2 of the lobster meat.
Fill bowls or cups with soup; garnish with the remaining lobster meat including a claw to top each serving. Serves 6-8.
Enjoy the summer. Let's hope we have a great one this year.
Cal Hancock is the owner and president of Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. in Cundy's Harbor, Maine. She grew up in Cape Neddick, ate her way through college; lived in the Midwest and tasted lutefisk and other goodies and now lives in Cundy's Harbor with her husband, Jack and two golden retrievers, Sally and Gus.
- By: Cal Hancock