Summer is a busy time for Maine families as we try to squeeze in every ray of sunshine before the long, cold winter. Our home becomes a literal bed-and-breakfast as we delight in entertaining family and friends with picnics on the beach, hikes in the mossy Crockett Cove woods preserve, sunset suppers and cocktails on the deck. And of course, everyone that visits the pine tree state wants to eat Maine lobster.
Once the lobsters start to crawl closer to shore to molt and shed their shells, the harvest season really picks up. A soft-shell lobster, or “sheddah”, is one that has recently lost its outer shell to grow into a new one. Although there will be less meat inside a soft shell lobster as compared to hard shell, the meat can be much sweeter, and a lot easier to pick.
Our summer weekly routine includes cooking up 6 – 8 shedders at a time, picking the meat, and enjoying it in lobster rolls, lobster stew, lobster and pasta salads, and savory lobster cheesecake.
The recipe for this savory cheesecake dates back to a class I taught on Maine Lobster Cuisine in 2005. At the time, I was developing recipes for the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, and educating consumers on the rich culinary history of the Maine lobster. Recipes for the preparation to fry, stew, and “boil to eat cold the common way” appeared in the 1664 edition of The Accomplished Cook: the Art and Mastery of Cooking. In the 1850’s, thrifty Maine housewives developed numerous recipes like Lobster and Noodle Ring, Lobster Croquette, and Lobster Rarebit.
Lobster Cheesecake is a very easy cheesecake type recipe, with three simple ingredients; soft cheese, eggs, and a base. The soft cheese, (cream cheese, goat cheese, or fresh dairy cheese) and egg are combined to provide the cheesecake structure. The base, chopped lobster and minced herbs, provide the flavor.
We like to treat folks to Lobster Cheesecake with crusty bread and fresh vegetables for a simple lunch, or cocktail snack. On special occasions, serve up Lobster Cheesecake with piping hot popovers, and a green salad. For relaxed, summer entertaining, make up a batch of these cheesecakes and freeze them. Remove from the freezer, bake and serve. Maine summer at its best!
- 8 ounces cream cheese or soft goat cheese at room temperature
- ¼ pound Maine lobster meat cooked and chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallot or onion
- Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 – 8 ounce ramekins
- Finely chop the fresh herbs and shallot.
- Chop the lobster (or seafood of your choice) into small pieces.
- Add the room temperature soft cheese to the bowl of your food processor or electric mixer. Pulse or beat the soft cheese until it has a smooth consistency with no lumps. Slowly beat in the egg.
- Add the chopped herbs and the Maine lobster and gently mix.
- Spoon the mixture into the greased ramekins.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden and set.