I’ve been known to go to great lengths to prepare a magnificent meal and source the rarest of ingredients for someone I love. My mother did the same for us growing up and apparently I’ve inherited her penchant for pleasing. My parents made sure our birthdays were an opportunity to bring our friends and family together to celebrate and feast over my mother’s legendary Lamb Biryani.
Back in Mumbai, where I grew up, everyone in our apartment building knew my talented mother, Regina, was cooking up an Indian feast when she started roasting cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and Kashmiri chiles spices on her tava (cast iron skillet). We lived on the first floor so by the time she was done, her aromatic garam masala would carry through the entire building. She cooked for at least 40 guests and then sent me to every neighbor with left overs the following day.
Cooking Indian food is no easy feat. Sometimes it takes a day or two to prepare one dish. Roasting and grinding the spices; preparing the marinade to tenderize the lamb overnight; chopping pounds of onions for what seems like days; slowly caramelizing them in ghee, and then adding in all those freshly ground spices to the onions so they can bloom and release all that incredible flavor making for a rich, thick and memorable lamb korma. But that is the beauty of slow cooking and the results are outstanding and memorable.
But then, a simple but exquisite dish like Champagne Lobster came into my life and it was a game changer! And, the best part about this dish is since I now live in Maine, the lobster capital of the world, I can source lobster – steamed, shucked and ready to go with one phone call. But please don’t let this hinder you. You can now do the same thing by ordering your lobster here.
This decadent dish has only 4 ingredients: champagne, lobster, butter and heavy cream. Yes, I repeat, four ingredients. I could not get over how incredibly simple it was to throw together. Imagine the sweet and succulent lobster meat sautéed in rich melted unsalted butter picking up the floral and bubbly notes of champagne added in and the decadence of heavy cream bringing all the sweet, savory flavors together in under 5 minutes for a delicate and silky, smooth finish.
I can hear my husband’s voice saying, “For heaven’s sake, just share the recipe already!!!”
I’m all for sharing a story AND the back story. So stay with me, I promise, once you are done here, you’ll add Champagne Lobster to your repertoire forever!
Years ago, I worked at the Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce and kept hearing rave reviews about Champagne Lobster from the local community. So one year my husband, Guy, and I tried it for the first time on our anniversary. Get this, it was our anniversary and we barely said a word to each other while we ate this in dead silence . Then Guy looked up, his blue eyes piercing into my brown ones and said, “You NEED to get this recipe from Phil!”
Phil Koskela, a local from Southport Island, Maine, put this legendary dish on the map here in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Phil was the General Manager at the famous and beloved Rocktide Inn (no longer in operation) for 39 years. In that time he probably served thousands of Champagne Lobster orders and built up an iconic following for this exquisite dish. Phil always served it along side Rocktide Inn’s legendary popovers. ( I’ll save them for another post. )
So years later, I reached out to Phil and begged him for the recipe, promising never to share it. I told him I just wanted to surprise Guy for our anniversary. Phil being as kind and gracious as he is known to be, started rattling it off. I didn’t even have a pen ready, so I literally memorized it over the phone.
Guy was in shock when I surprised him with it at our anniversary dinner. It was definitely a nostalgic blast from the past. But this time around Guy convinced me to go back to Phil and ask him for permission to blog about the dish and even do a fun video in homage to the dish and the man behind it! As soon as I got Phil’s blessing I reached out to another Maine culinary icon, Rod Browne Mitchell, the national authority on caviar and owner of Browne Trading Co, located on Commercial Street in Portland, Maine. I shared the good news that I had scored the recipe to this prized dish and went on to describe it. I added that I would love to collaborate with him on producing this piece which I now consider a gift from Phil — one that had to be shared with scores of lobster lovers out there.
Rod was all in! He and his fabulous team at Browne Trading Market, set aside one of the finest bottles of champagne, an 1851 Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, a pound of the freshest shucked Maine lobster and 2 beautiful lobster tails for pickup.
So, here’s how I set the mood: I set the table first, chill the Champagne while I get my mise en place (prep for the dish) together. Then I turn off my kitchen lights, light a candle, pour myself a glass of bubbly, channel some Stacey Kent and get in the CL zone.
Check out the recipe below. A couple of notes:
I added some Italian angel hair pasta to it because you need something light to soak up every last drop of that sauce.
Phil said you don’t need the most expensive champagne to make this dish. In fact Phil admitted that he used Cook’s Champagne for years because he was making hundreds of Champagne Lobsters a week. But it’s not everyday you splurge on lobster and champagne, so if you can afford to, just do it right and go all the way!
Special thanks to Rod Browne Mitchell, Browne Trading Company, for sponsoring the lobster and champagne for this post.
A huge thanks to Phil Koskela, for sharing the recipe. I’ve posted his iconic dish with his blessing and permission.
- 2 lobsters - claws, knuckle and tails - shucked and pre-cooked
- ½ cup of unsalted butter
- ½ cup of Champagne
- ¾ heavy cream
- 8 oz De Cecco Angel Hair no.9 Pasta, cooked al dente
- In a heavy-bottomed skillet, on medium heat add the butter .
- Once it melts, add the cooked lobster and sautee for about 1 minutes on low heat.
- Now, take out the lobster, set aside.
- Add in the Champagne and bring it to a boil, until it cooks off.
- After a minute, lower the heat and add the heavy cream.
- Give it a good stir.
- Now add the lobster back to the pan and let it cook for another minute on simmer.
- The sauce will start taking on a pinkish hue from the lobster.
- Now, toss in that al dente angel hair cooked pasta and stir well.
- Add a few scallions for color and serve warm immediately but with a chilled glass of Champagne.