Maine produces 80% of the nation’s lobster catch. The state economy depends heavily on lobstering and is especially hard hit by the enormous drop in lobster prices and revenues. The Portland Press Herald reported in 2008 that total revenue from fishing declined 16 percent in 2007. The news was worse in 2008, and summer of 2009 was absolutely terrible. The costs of fuel, bait, boat repairs and the “gear” (traps, lines, and buoys) have steadily increased.
When the recession hit, lobster was cut from many families’ menu choices and grocery lists. It is perceived as a “luxury” food. Demand plummeted and so did the price of lobster, leaving lobstermen bringing home very lean paychecks.
Last summer, tensions erupted into “gear wars”. Unofficially, every harbor has boundaries. Lobstermen poaching into territories not their own are usually reprimanded with cut lines, sunk traps, or in serious cases, boats being sunk. On Matinicus Island last summer there was even a shooting. The lobstermen are under extreme stress. Lobster is at an all time low price per pound. EAT LOBSTER!!
We suggest the absolutely delicious lobster stew from Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. It has more than one whole lobster in every quart. $44 for a quart. They also sell many other delectable lobster treats.
Here is a fabulous recipe for Lobster Pot Pie from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook to get you motivated.
Lobster Pot Pie:
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large onion)
- 3/4 cup chopped fennel (1 fennel bulb)
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups fish stock or clam juice
- 1 tablespoon Pernod
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3/4 pound cooked fresh lobster meat
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas (not “baby” peas)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
- 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons cold fresh lard, diced (1/4 pound)
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water or heavy cream, for egg wash
Saute the onions and fennel with the butter in a large saute pan on medium heat until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour and cook on low heat for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the heavy cream.
Cut the lobster meat into medium-sized cubes. Place the lobster, frozen peas, frozen onions, and parsley in a bowl (there is no need to defrost the vegetables). Pour the sauce over the mixture and check the seasonings. Set aside.
For the crust, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the lard and butter and pulse 10 times, until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out on a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide the dough in half and roll out each half to fit a 9 or 9 1/2-inch round by 2-inch high ovenproof glass or ceramic baking dish. Place 1 crust in the dish, fill with the lobster mixture, and top with the second crust. Crimp the crusts together and brush with the egg wash. Make 4 or 5 slashes in the top crust and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.