Lobstah Rangoon!

This year, lobster prices are lower than they’ve been in 20 years – cheaper than cold cuts. So start heatin’ the watta in tha lobstah pot! There’s no reason not to take advantage of these bad boys this summer. You don’t even have to go through the hassle of cooking them yourself: most fishmongers can steam them for you.

But if you’re going to cook up lobster for a clambake yourself, throw an extra one into the pot for use in this variation on a favorite appetizer. (You could use leftover lobster meat, but we’ve never experienced the “leftover” thing at our clambakes.) Skip the deep-frying step and bake them instead. It’s easier and, if you line up your wontons assembly-line fashion as we do, the whole process is a breeze.

Back in the day, lobsters were served not with melted butter but sprinkled with vinegar. They’re quite good that way, actually, so we’ve used a spicy vinegar dipping sauce here; it’s more in keeping with Asian cuisines. (Of course, these appetizers aren’t Asian at all. They were popularized at Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian-themed restaurant, back in the 1950s.)  Feel free to use your favorite dipping sauce. Either way, these Rangoon are a far cry from the restaurant variety (which often, mysteriously, seem to be missing the seafood…)

Lobster Rangoon with Hot Vinegar Dipping Sauce
(24 appetizers)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¾ Cup cooked lobster meat, chopped finely
¼ Cup thinly sliced scallion
1-2 teaspoons A-1 sauce
Dash garlic powder
24 won ton wrappers

¼ Cup rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, lobster meat, scallion, A-1, and garlic powder.

Lay out the wonton wrappers. Place 1 teaspoon of filling onto one half of a wonton wrapper. Lightly wet the edges with water. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Seal well and arrange on the cookie sheet. Brush lightly with canola oil or melted butter.

Bake 12-15 minutes, until edges are golden brown and filling is heated through. Serve warm.

While the wonton bake, whisk the dipping sauce ingredients in a bowl. Taste it  and add more salt or more chili peppers, to taste.

The Eagles Nest, Brewer, Maine


Posted by Maile
Recently, a friend and I were on our way to a workshop in Nova Scotia. Just before lunch, outside Bangor, we stopped for gas. We asked the attendant (yes, it was a full-service gas station of all things!) where we could get a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. He thought for a minute then said, “Oh, the Eagle’s Nest. It’s right down the road on the left.” He assured us that the locals went there.

We almost missed it. The place looked like a derelict house with a sign out front. Inside, it actually did look like somebody’s house with some tables and stools crammed in. It was early, so we lucked into a table in front of the picture window overlooking the Penobscot River.

The river view was soothing. Inside, it was good people-watching. You know how sometimes when you go to a local place you feel uncomfortable? People stare at you, or you want to stare at them and don’t dare? No problem. The Eagles Nest was friendly and laid back.

We weren’t sure we wanted a whole lunch, but the menu made the decision for us. Now, you have to realize that some of our friends have elevated the lobster roll to an icon. When they heard we were heading north they said, “You have to get a lobster roll!”

Personally, I think lobster rolls are overrated – all that mayo, and white bread. And expensive! I’ve heard people say they’ve paid more than $20. Still, lobster roll was on the Eagles Nest menu, and only  $13. So I ordered it.

Truly, it was embarrassing. A HUGE mound of lobster claw meat, lightly dressed with – I don’t even think it was mayo. It was a struggle to find the roll under all the lobster. Fries, of course, and absolutely delicious cole slaw – again without a mayo dressing. Because I’m a slaw fan, I was nearly as excited about that as about the lobster.

OK. I’m a convert now, as least as far as Eagle’s Nest lobster rolls are concerned. There are other ways to get to Nova Scotia, but taking route 9 out of Bangor takes you by the Eagle’s Nest.