“See you glancin at that table back there,” a voice said at my elbow. I had been at The Lamplighter long enough to have ordered my second beer and a “junior platter” of Lobster Pickin’s. I figured if I didn’t at least try them, I’d always wonder.
Outside of New England and the Atlantic provinces to the north, lobster probably isn’t something you’d find on the menu at a middle-of-the-road place like The Lamplighter. Woe is you! Served with Tarragon Tartar Sauce, these are worthy of five stars whether you’re in 1958 or 2058.
If you’re not up to killing the lobsters yourself, buy fresh or frozen lobster meat, in chunks, from your fishmonger or supermarket. There’s no two ways about it, you’ve got to try these. Otherwise, you’ll always wonder—just like Jake Epping.
Makes 6 appetizer servings
Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels.
In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm 4 inches of vegetable oil. In a pie plate, whisk together the fry mix and garlic powder (if using). Pour the buttermilk into a medium bowl. Keep watch on the oil as you proceed with breading the lobster.
Add the lobster meat to the fry mix and toss to coat the pieces evenly. Shake off the excess mix and transfer the lobster pieces to the buttermilk. Mix with your hands to coat each piece, then remove the lobster pieces a few at a time, shaking off the excess liquid, and drop them back into the fry mix. Toss to coat well.
When the oil reaches 375°F, shake the excess coating from about half of the lobster pieces and gently scatter into the hot oil, keeping them separated so they don’t stick together. Fry, untouched, for 30 seconds, then stir gently and continue frying until golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lobster to the prepared baking sheet to drain. Repeat with the remaining lobster.
Arrange the pickin’s on a platter, garnish with chives, and serve immediately with the tartar and cocktail sauces.