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A Summer Lunch That Feels Like a Splurge

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A pandemic has many downsides. And the lobster industry is among the many sectors it’s taken a toll on.

If you’re in the business of selling lobster, you currently have a lot of lobster available and a dearth of wholesale customers, not the ideal situation.

But there can be some bright spots, depending on how you look at it.

If you’re a home cook, you’ll be glad to know that lobsters are cheaper than ever — less than $6 a pound at many supermarkets. So, in theory, at these prices, you could be having lobster once or twice a week, not just for special occasions. Look at it this way: The more lobster we eat, the more we support the beleaguered lobster industry.

ImageThe hardest part here is preparing the lobsters, but that can be done in advance.
Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

A well-stuffed lobster roll on a grilled bun, whether you’re a mayonnaise or butter person, is thrilling summer fare. It’s a treat to be served dockside with an ocean view, if possible, but don’t let location deter you.

Or what about steamed lobster, on a picnic table lined with newspaper and the whole family around it, each person shell cracking and meat-picking and sucking every last sweet morsel from every nook and cranny. To drink? Cold beer.

Then again, a somewhat more-structured summer lunch is fun, too.

This menu, designed for a small outdoor celebration among friends, skews Provençal. It starts with savory goat cheese toasts, moving on to a showstopping main-course lobster salad and ending with a refreshing fruit bowl splashed with sparkling rosé, accompanied by tender buttery cornmeal cookies.

Best of all, this is a no-cook meal or, rather, a cook-in-advance-and-assemble meal, perfect for summer entertaining. The only real chore is steaming the lobster and removing the meat. But even that can be done ahead, freeing you to enjoy the day.

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

These little toasts go well with drinks, and simply require roasting a red pepper and marinating slices of goat cheese with thyme, rosemary and olive oil. Do that the day before, then set up the toasts and pop them into the oven to warm just before serving. They’re more-than-one-bite hors d’oeuvres, quite satisfying, and taste best at room temperature or just barely warm.

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

The lobster salad is niçoise-ish, but more luxurious, with a basil-infused vinaigrette. It makes a fine celebratory lunch or supper and takes advantage of summer vegetables. Now, of course, is when they are at their best. Choose the smallest green beans and new potatoes you can find, and the sweetest, most colorful tomatoes. A dab of aioli on the side is a welcome option, too.

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

A fresh fruit bowl always makes a perfect dessert, especially in summer months when stone fruit and berries are in season. Feel free to use whatever you like in this wine-drenched fruit salad: peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries, to name a few. Use any dry white or rosé, but this Macedonia is especially good with sparkling wine, and particularly sparkling rosé. Serve in wide glasses so guests can sip the juice. Top up with more bubbly, if you wish. Here, a bit of optional lavender perfumes the fruit, but lemon verbena or mint leaves would also be nice.

Credit…Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Light and buttery, these tender cookies have a subtle corn flavor and a texture similar to ladyfingers or madeleines. They keep well and are just as delicious with a pot of tea. You make the dough into logs and cut into slices to bake. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze for up to a month.

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