2006 Zin 91 Old Vines Zinfandel
lobster rolls with kettle chips and homemade sweet dill pickles
Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine
plum-red wine sorbet with blueberries
I admittedly struggled a bit when deciding whether or not to commit to lobster rolls for this menu because I'm sure the knee-jerk reaction for a lot of you will be that it's too expensive. Next! But here's the thing: over the past year or so, the price of lobster has become very reasonable (something about an overabundance? best "problem" ever). Case and point: a few weeks ago, they were on sale for $5.99/lb. at my local grocery store. Each lobster roll should sport about a pound or so of meat so you're looking at about a little less than a lobster per person. Ideally, this spread works best for a smaller crowd but for those rocking a full house, might I suggest BYOL? Not kidding.
There's a whole big heated debate when it comes to lobster rolls: warm with butter or cold with a little mayo (must be Hellman's). Just take a look at the spread in last week's New York Magazine for further proof. I happen to be on the mayo-based team--which is actually quite surprising considering the only way I like to eat lobster is steamed with drawn butter. But there's something so quintessentially summer about a lobster roll sprinkled with tiny bits of celery on a top-split New England bun. Really, there's little better.
I happen to love Kielbasa. And I didn't even know this until about a year ago (a damn tragedy, I know). They're ridiculously flavorful--garlic, salt, smoke--and in an ode to the class pigs in a blanket, I'm proposing you grill a few up, slice them on the bias into bite-size pieces and serve them up with a sweet mustard-dill sauce. Appetizer: done.
If you prepare the lobster salad, sweet dill pickles, and plum-red wine sorbet the day before (the sorbet could be made several days in advance), you're looking at a whole lot of little to nothing to do the day of. Besides soaking up as much sun as possible (responsibly of course, with SPF) at the beach or on the boat with your loved ones.
See you on the Sound.
Cork'd wine pairings for the spread are explained by Jon Troutman:
"With our country's pending independence celebration, it would be practically un-American to drink anything made outside the good ol' U.S. of A. Luckily, we have some perfectly suitable and appropriate wines made right here in the Land of the Free.
Kielbasa: Grilling season means Zinfandel season, and there really isn't a better, more suitable pairing for a smoky, steaming sliced Kielbasa starter. America's unofficial All-American grape, Zin is rarely found outside of the states. Like other things in America, it tends to be a very big wine--practically obese sometimes with its scorching alcohol levels. Look for something with moderate alcohol (under 15%) that won't be over-the-top in the oppressive July heat. At a tame 14% alcohol and a price tag under $15, the 2006 Zin 91 Old Vines Zinfandel might be a safe bet.
Growing up on Cape Cod, I know a thing or two about lobster rolls and potato chips. After heating up with Kielbasa and Zin, you'll wanna refresh yourself and cool down with something fresh, something cool, and something...celebratory. One of California's great sparkling wines, Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine (100% Chardonnay) fits the bill. Sparkling Wine and Lobster is a classic pairing...heck, in my book, sparkling wine and potato chips is too!"
Lobster Roll (recipe courtesy of Pearl Oyster Bar)
Sweet Dill Pickles (aka Swedish Cucumbers)
Kettle Chips: Cape Cod 40% Reduced Fat get my vote 100 times over.
Little table decorating tip: Collect the prettiest mussel and/or oyster shells you can find at the beach, bring 'em home, wash them well, then use them for salt vessels all down the table.