I seldom write about food. In fact, bar one post that used food as a medium for humour, I have never delved into this particular aspect of writing. Nonetheless, I will make an exception for once, since it is a special occasion. What better way to celebrate Shards of Silence’s one year anniversary than by uncorking a good bottle of wine, slicing up a few juicy tomatoes and getting the pot on the stove for a little lobster love.
One of the things that I have come to love about DC are its farmer’s markets. The first stopover was the weekly market in Georgetown, which is rather small when compared to others I have visited in the city, but does not disappoint on the variety of organic and free range produce on offer.
The summers here are so generous in their heat that light meals are the best option. I feel that I have turned Greek all of a sudden, as the majority of dishes on our table tend to be determinately Mediterranean in flavour. This time around we skipped the Feta, but the basic ingredients for this salad are otherwise the same:
Heritage Tomatoes (red and gold)
(I favour what the Americans call a “pickling cucumber” rather than the long-bodied variety; they are much more flavoursome.)
Fresh Lettuce & Rocket Salad Leaves
(Any will do, but we got the Boston “Bibb” Lettuce that is sourced by a nearby Glen’s Garden Market from a local farm. The Rocket is called Arugula in the States and the pepperiness of the leaves adds just the right zing to the salad.)
(Here again I had some difficulty with the local slang. Apparently they are “scallions” in the US. Once the language barrier was overcome, however, the friendly staff at Glen’s got us some from their chef’s pantry, as it is so popular that there was none left on the shelves.)
Add a sprinkle of Salt, a few spoonfuls of Olive Oil and a dash of Balsamic Vinegar and you have the perfect summer salad: the best accompaniment to any dish.
It is so good that even the lobster could’t keep his antennae off the plate 😉
This lobster – whom I was very tempted to name, but decided against for fear that it would make it that much more difficult to turn the crustacean into dinner – also came curtesy of the farmer’s market. He is a gorgeous Maine Lobster and was very much alive, if a little dopey only ten minutes before this picture was taken. (For the squeamish amongst you, I am reassured by the head chef – aka my significant other – that it was a quick and painless event for Robbie. Argh! Ok. So that no-naming thing didn’t quite work out for me. Moving on…)
How do you prepare a fresh lobster? It is simpler than one would have guessed. Fill a sufficiently large pot half-way with water and a table spoon of salt and bring to the boil. When the water is boiling, drop the lobster in (if you want to make steamed lobster then the water should cover your lobster half way up). Steam for ten minutes and voila.
The tail of the lobster is where most of the lobster meat comes from so this is the one to be removed first. Be careful when you do this, as there will be hot liquid inside the head. Next are the claws that you either need a special implement to crack them with or – if like me you had no such professional devices handy – the back of a heavy butcher’s knife will do just as well. Finally, I know that many dismiss the tiny legs as worthless, but to me they are the juiciest part: quite fiddly to eat, but hey – who doesn’t like to play with their food once in a while.
The simplest way to serve lobster is with melted butter: it simply melts on your tongue.
And finally… the wine.
Since this is a one year anniversary, the wine is a young 2013 Albariño from the cellars of the Old Westminster winery in Maryland.
I swirled the wine in my glass. The citrus notes came through first and I longed to identify the exact blossom that gave the wine its distinctive bouquet. Lime peel… Who would’ve imagined? It was a perfect pairing with the lobster, its refreshingly acidic aftertaste complementing the sweetness of the meat well. The wine has a silky texture and its citric undertones work wonders on the pallet.
Add some hand-made french baguette to the mix and this is it: my blog’s anniversary dinner.
Thank you all for your congratulations and kind wishes. Here’s to another good year together!