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Early summer vacation Maine seafood roundup (long)

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Early summer vacation Maine seafood roundup (long)

MU | Jul 3, 2003 11:12 AM

Just got through over a week of family visiting from out of state. We rented a camp near Sebago and did most of our own cooking, but here are some notes:

Had the obligatory lobster/steamers dinner last Monday. Bought lobsters at Fisherman's Net on 302 (same as the one in Portland on Forest Ave), where prices hovered around an astronomical (for Maine) $7/lb. The kid there said this was the latest hardshell season on record, and they had to go 50 miles from shore to catch lobsters, but when they start to shed in a couple of weeks, the price of lobster will drop to around $2/lb for softshells. But these were huge! We asked for 1 1/2 pounders, but got absolute monsters probably nearer to 2 lbs. Claw meat from one hefty specimen was the size of an average chicken breast!

Needless to say, with five of us, there were leftovers of the lobster, the corn on the cob, and the tasty steamers (which we should have cooked a couple minutes longer), and we used the leftover clam broth and lobster shells to make stock, to which we then added (among other things) the lobster meat, shucked steamers, and sweet corn cut off the cob, and a quart of half and half, to create some of the most amazing chowder ever made. This fed five of us for a second night, and we still had leftovers. Wow.

Mom still had a fried clam jones when our week on the lake ended, and, on a tip from a friend who swears by the place, we went to check out the clams at the venerable Italian-American joint, the Village Cafe, in Portland, only to find their clams in batter, not flour, which is our preference. These were sweet, fat clams, but buried under twice their own volume of thick batter. A disappointment. One interesting observation, though: the batter really absorbs the clam flavor nicely, so if you like that, these clams might be for you. Red's in Wiscasset does them this way too. I still prefer the clams at Newick's or Susan's.

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