Is there a food or meal that just transports you back in time or to a place in the distant or not so distant past? For me it’s lobster. If I see lobster I’m immediately time-traveling to summer circa 1982 (ish) and Cape Cod, Massachusetts. My dad took us there for summer vacation when I was about 11 or 12, Molly 2 years younger, and Katie was just a chubby toddler running around in diapers.
My dad and another family went in together on what seemed to me at the time an enormous Cape Cod style beach house, windows and all. It had a ton of rooms, a huge living room, sandy yards, and a massive front porch.
One afternoon the dads showed up with a cooler full of fresh lobsters and mussels. I thought the lobsters looked a bit creepy and wasn’t sure who would ever want to eat “muscles,” but it turned out to be one of the most delicious and memorable meals of my life. Maybe it was the fact that it was all as fresh as it could be and we were on a beach vacation. Maybe it’s just nostalgia and the way I remember it and the other memories from that vacation.
I remember being crammed into the back seat of a small car with my two sisters and riding for what seemed like days to get there. I remember that during the long long time ago car ride I heard Don McClean’s classic American Pie for the first time and how we all sang along. Well, all of us except Katie, since she hadn’t really learned to talk yet – she has since made up for that. If you’re familiar with this song, you will understand how a couple of kids would be able to sing along to it while experiencing it for the first time. If you’re not familiar with American Pie (the song not the movie that refers so much to band camp), please stop making me feel old, invest almost 10 minutes of your life, and go check it out.
That song remains my all time favorite to this day.
I remember floating in Cape Cod Bay on a raft and getting bit by a crab or some other creature I didn’t want to know about. This is probably the reason I turned into a weenie and am now afraid to swim in natural water.
And then there was Katie who ripped off her diaper and planted her bare self in the beer cooler full of icy water. She swam around in there and giggled her little head off. Katie now is the mother of 5 year old TRIPLETS. Oh my.
When the thought came to me for a lobster salad, it immediately became 1982 (ish). I was on the big rental house porch in Cape Cod watching my youngest sister skinny dipping in the beer cooler as sounds of American Pie sang in my head. I was transported back in time to when I was just a kid with no worries. Life was simpler and summer vacations were full of new discoveries.
I invite you to make your favorite time-travel dish, pour a glass of wine, and meet me on the front porch. I want to hear all about what makes it so memorable and what special place it takes you to.
- One head of romaine, cleaned and chopped or torn into bite size pieces
- 4 sweet campari tomatoes, quartered (halved cherry or grape would be fine too - use as many as you like)
- 1/2 avocado, cut into small to medium chunks (you will use half in the salad and half in the dressing)
- 8 oz cooked, peeled, frozen, and thawed lobster tails (1-2 fresh tails would be better; shrimp, crab claws, or scallops would be a good substitute)
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2.5 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 medium avocado, cut into medium to large chunks
- 1 lemon, zested and juice from half
- salt to taste and pepper if you prefer
- 2-4 tablespoons water to thin
- Arrange romaine in a large bowl and top with tomatoes
- Add vinegar, olive oil, pressed garlic, honey, 1/2 avocado, lemon zest and juice to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and use water to thin if necessary or desired, blend until consistency you like
- Toss avocado to top of salad and add lobster or whatever shellfish you are using
- Drizzle with dressing
- Serve immediately
Note: This was enough to make an entree easily for 2 people or 4 sides, but I ate the whole thing myself.