Today is National Lobster Day. Let’s talk about the gold standard of the seafood industry for a moment. When settlers first landed in America, lobsters were in such abundance that they actually washed up on shore in piles nearly two-feet high. They were thought of as the cockroaches of the sea.
Lobsters were so plentiful that colonists fed them to their pigs, cows while Native Americans used them as fertilizer and fish bait. The fact that lobsters were said to have been included at the first Thanksgiving really isn’t speaking highly of the banquet as a whole.
During the Revolutionary War, British prisoners of war even stated a revolt in response to being fed too much lobster. The crustaceans eventually acquired a stigma as a sign of poverty and degradation. They were once seen fit only to feed prisoners and slaves. Indentured servants in Massachusetts got so fed up with eating lobster every day that they took their masters to court, and the judge ruled in their favor, ruling no one could be forced to eat lobster more than three times a week.
So how did the lobster go from the bottom of the barrel to a top shelf delicacy? Two things happened – canned foods and train travel. Railway managers discovered Midwestern passengers who had long since forgotten about the lobster’s early reputation. Food from New England was sought after, and a whole new market opened up. By the 1920s, lobster had become the food of choice for the world’s aristocrats. During the Great Depression, the abundance of lobster returned to it’s lowly standing as a food for the poor. Yet by the 1950s, lobster back in vogue once more and has remained the luxury food it is today.
It’s interesting that something once thought of as so lowly could be elevated to such solicitation and earn a place at the High Society Table.
Today is also Ember Days Friday, the last of the three Autumn Ember Days. Let us give thanks for the bounty of the sea and ask that God lift us up to His banquet table.
Lobster Roll Bites
2 (15 count) packages Mini Phyllo Shells
1 tablespoon fresh Tarragon
5 Green Onions, divided
1 lb cooked Lobster Meat
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish if desired
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the shells on the prepared pan; bake in the heated oven for 4. Transfer to a rack and allow to cool completely before filling.
Snip tarragon leaves into small pieces, set aside. Slice four green onions, set aside. Slice remaining green onion for garnish and set aside separately.
Dice lobster meat into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a small bowl. Add mayonnaise. Scatter tarragon leaves and green onions over the lobster meat Season with salt, white pepper and cayenne to taste. Fold together to blend. Chill well until ready to serve.
Assemble just before serving. Arrange Phyllo Shells on a serving platter or appetizer plates. Spoon lobster into Phyllo shells and garnish with sliced scallion. Garnish plate with parsley if desired and serve immediately.