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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

TIP: Create A Guacamole Party Bar

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Guacamole with crispy bacon and shredded
cheddar. Here’s the recipe. Photo and recipe
courtesy Sabrina Modelle | The Tomato Tart
via California Avocado Commission.


National Guacamole Day is September 16th, and we wondered: If there are salad bars and frozen yogurt bars, cereal bars, baked potato bars and chili bars*, why not a guacamole bar? Who doesn’t love the opportunity to customize their foods?

Individual bowls and an array of ingredients enable each person to start with a base of smashed avocado, and pile on the fixings. They can then be mixed in or eaten as is—a mountain of flavors and textures.

Whether for a general party or drinks, we like to include a crunchy salad base, to make a more substantial dish. We prefer shredded cabbage, a.k.a. coleslaw mix. You end up with “guacamole coleslaw” at the bottom of the dish.

To encourage creativity, mix some non-traditional items (bacon? mint? pineapple?) with traditional ones.

  • Avocado: mashed, smashed or diced†
  • Cheese: crumbled cotija, goat cheese, queso blanco, queso fresco or queso oaxaca; shredded cheddar or jack
  • Diced veggies: bell pepper, carrot, cucumber, green and/or red onion, jicama, radish, tomatillo, tomato/sundried tomato
  • Seasonings: cayenne, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and/or minced garlic, hot sauce, lemon and/or lime wedges, paprika, salt/seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce
  • Heat: chile flakes, minced chipotle and jalapeño‡
  • Herbs: chives, cilantro, mint, parsley
  • Salad base: arugula, chicory, escarole, iceberg, radicchio, romaine, shredded cabbage, watercress
  • Toppings: bacon, corn, crushed pineapple, diced mango, olives, salsa, sour cream or plain yogurt, toasted nuts

  • Chips and dippers: celery sticks, crostini (toasted or grilled baguette slices), endive leaves, pita chips, tortilla chips, flatbread
  • Drinks: beer, white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or other crisp, medium-body white wine), white sangria
    Set the dishes on a table or buffet in this order: bowls, salad, avocado, veggies, heat, seasonings and toppings; include serving utensils with each option.

    At the end of the table, place the forks and spoons for blending and napkins, and dinner plates for the individual bowls and chips. Place large bowls of chips or other dippers on the tables.
    *More food bar ideas: Breakfast & Brunch Bar, Lunch & Dinner Bar and Dessert Bar.

    †Hass avocados are preferred. While other varieties are larger, the Hass variety is creamier, a desired characteristic for guacamole.

    ‡To accommodate those who just like a little heat, have two bowls of jalapeño: one minced and served as is, one with the heat-carrying seeds removed before mincing.



    Mesoamericans cultivated the avocado, a fruit which had grown in what we now call Central America for millions of years. The conquering Aztecs‡‡ called it ahuacatl; the “tl” is pronounced “tay” in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. Guacamole was compounded in a molcajete, a mortar and pestle carved from volcanic stone.

    When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in 1519 under Hernán Cortés, they heard ah-hwah-cah-tay as “aguacate,” the spelling and pronounciation they adopted.

    The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via the Nahuatl “ahuacamOlli,” a compound of ahuacatl [avocado] + mOlli [sauce]. The chocolate-based mole sauce comes from that same word, mOlli.

    Ahuacatl means “testicle.” Aztecs saw the avocado as resembling testicles and ate them as a sex stimulant. According to Linda Stradley on the website, for centuries after Europeans came into contact with the avocado, it carried its reputation for inducing sexual prowess. It wasn’t purchased or consumed by anyone concerned with his or her reputation.


    Guacamole On Spoon

    Custom-blending guacamole is not only fun; you get exactly what you want. Photo courtesy McCormick.

    American avocado growers had to sponsor a public relations campaign to dispel the myth before avocados could become popular. After then, their dark green, pebbly flesh also earned avocados the name, “alligator pear.”
    ‡‡The Aztecs, who probably originated as a nomadic tribe in northern Mexico, arrived in Mesoamerica around the beginning of the 13th century.


  • Avocados been cultivated for over 10,000 years.
  • Avocados have more potassium that a banana, plus many other health benefits (here are the 12 health benefits of avocado).
  • Leaving the pit in to keep it from browning doesn’t really work.
  • The largest-ever serving of guacamole weighed 2,669.5 kg (5,885.24 lbs), created by the Municipality of Tancítaro Michoacan in Tancítaro, Mexico, on April 4th 2013. But how many tortilla chips were needed?
  • During festivities for the last Super Bowl, 104.2 million pounds of avocados were consumed nationally, mostly as guacamole.


    TIP OF THE DAY: The Easiest Way To Eat Whole Grains

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    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/powerseed 230

    Top: Doesn’t this look so much better
    than white bread? Photo courtesy
    Tried And Tasty via Dave’s Killer Bread.
    Bottom: Photo courtesy Dave’s Killer Bread.


    September is Whole Grains Month. Why whole grains? You need the fiber no matter your age, what shape you’re in (here’s why you need whole grains).

    When you tell people they need to add more fiber to their diet via whole grains, you get push back. We understand: We, too prefer the taste of white-flour pancakes, pasta and pizza crust to whole grain versions.

    But bread? Did you ever meet a piece of bread you didn’t like? That’s why you should make a small switch to whole grain bread.

    Sandwiches and toast are just as delicious with whole wheat bread. And if you use Dave’s Killer Bread, they are resplendent!

    So today’s tip is: Stop buying white bread for sandwiches and toast, and try all the whole grain versions available to you.

    Our favorite is Dave’s Killer Bread, available in 14 different loaf varieties plus hamburger and hot dog buns. There’s also a better-for-you cinnamon roll. It’s one of our favorite Top Picks Of The Week.


    It is, indeed, killer. In addition to marvelous flavor and texture, the breads are organic, all natural, whole grain and packed with protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids. Whole grain bread has never tasted better. We’ll support Dave’s claim that this is “the best bread in the universe.”

    In addition, the breads are vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified and certified kosher (parve) by Oregon Kosher.

    Our only lament is that our local store carries only one variety.

    Once only available in greater Portland, Oregon, Dave’s Killer Bread has quietly become the country’s largest baker of organic bread—the #1 organic bread brand!

    The first four Dave’s Killer Bread varieties (Blues, Good Seed, Nuts & Grains and Rockin’ Rye) launching at the Portland Farmers Market in 2005. Ten years later, it’s traversed the U.S. Waste no time in finding it, even if your local store has only one of the 14 loaves.

    Here’s a store locator. Discover more at

    We had Dave’s Killer Bread for breakfast this morning, toasted. It’s so flavorful that it needs no spread. And since, as far as bread is concerned, Dave’s is as guilt-free as it gets, we’re deciding on what to put on our DKB sandwich for lunch:

  • BLT?
  • Chicken salad?
  • Egg?
  • Grilled cheese?
  • Grilled vegetables?
  • Ham and Emmental (the real Swiss cheese) or pimento cheese?
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Turkey and guacamole?
    All are in THE NIBBLE coffers; we just can’t decide. But we hope we’ve sold you.



    While you can rest assured that Dave’s Killer Bread is whole grain, there’s a lot on the store shelves that appear to be—but aren’t. Package labels are deceptive.

  • Multigrain is not whole grain.
  • Cracked grain and rye breads are not whole grain.
  • Pumpernickel, other dark breads are not whole grain.
  • Only “whole wheat” and “whole grain” are whole grain.
  • Corn bread can be whole grain if it’s made with whole-grain cornmeal and, if there’s wheat flour in the recipe, whole-wheat flour.
  • Here’s more on what is and isn’t whole grain bread.

    NOTE: If you eat gluten-free, millet is a GF whole grain bread.



    Put your burgers and hot dogs on whole grain buns, too. Photo courtesy The Bojon Gourmet via Dave’s Killer Bread.




    TIP OF THE DAY: Apples & Honey

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    Apples and honey, a Jewish New Year tradition, are a delicious snack or
    simple dessert on any day.


    Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. One of the holiday traditions is dipping an apple in honey. But the tradition can be enjoyed year-round by anyone looking for a tasty snack or a simple dessert.

    All you need are honey and apples. Slice the apples and serve them with a dish of honey.

    TIP: While a bowl of honey lets more than one person dip at a time, a Honey Bear squeeze bottle or other squeeze bottle (with a dispensing tip) is much neater!


    Apples are sweet, honey is even sweeter. Combine the two and it’s symbolic of a [hopefully] ultra-sweet new year.

    The apple symbolizes the Garden of Eden, which according to the Torah has the scent of an apple orchard, and in Kabbalah is called “the holy apple orchard.”


    So whether or not you’re celebrating anything today, pick up some crisp apples and honey, slice and dip. If you aren’t already familiar with this combination, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to put them together!

    There’s generic honey—a blend of inexpensive honeys from around the world, blended to a common denominator for American supermarket purchases.

    And then there’s varietal honey: single-source honey, such as Black Sage, Clover, Orange Blossom, Raspbery and Sage. There are hundreds of varieties, each made from the nectar of a different flower, bush or tree.

    Each varietal honey has a distinct flavor; thus, and each pairs well with specific foods. Check out our food and honey pairings.

    Consider these pairing tips from Rowan Jacobsen, an apple grower and author of Apples of Uncommon Character:

  • Gala apples with orange blossom honey
  • Granny Smith and other tart green apples with basswood honey
  • Honeycrisp apples with wildflower honey
  • Pink Lady or SweeTango apples with avocado honey
  • Pippin apples with apple blossom honey
  • Russet apples with tupelo honey
    Here’s the full article.

    Happy New Year to those who celebrate, and enjoy those apples and honey, to those who don’t.


    FOOD FUN: Mac & Cheese Potato Skins

    Many people enjoy crunchy potato skins filled with with cheddar cheese, bacon, sour cream and green onions.

    But at Tony Roma’s, they switch out the cheddar and sour cream for macaroni and cheese. You can make the mac and cheese from scratch, or use leftover mac and cheese.



  • Small baking potatoes
  • Melted butter
  • Mac and cheese
  • Garnishes: crisp diced bacon, minced chives or
    thinly-sliced green onion
  • Salt and pepper
  • Beer!


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/mac and cheese potato skins tonyromasFB 230sq

    Mac & cheese potato skins. Photo courtesy Tony Roma’s.

    1. PLACE the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

    2. PIERCE each potato several times with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife and place on the oven rack. Bake until the skins are crisp and easily pierced with a knife or cake tester, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool about 10 minutes.

    3. SET the oven to broil. Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh around the skins. Reserve the scooped flesh for another use (e.g. mashed potatoes).

    4. BRUSH the insides of the potatoes with melted butter; season with salt and pepper. Flip the skins and repeat.

    5. SPACE the potato halves skin-side up on a baking sheet. Broil until the butter foams and the skins start to crisp, 2 to 3 minutes, watching so they don’t burn. Flip the skins over and broil until the top edges begin to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

    6. REMOVE from the oven and fill each skin with mac and cheese and bacon. Place under the broiler and broil until the cheese bubbles, about 2 minutes. Remove from the broiler and top each skin with chives or green onion. Serve immediately.



    RECIPE: Green Bean Salad

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    Serve this green bean salad as a first course,
    chilled or at room temperature. Photo
    courtesy Distilled NY.


    Green beans are a popular year-round vegetable. Only broccoli ranks higher among the green veggies.

    According to Produce Pete, green beans (also called snap beans) are best in early winter, early summer and early fall, when they are the most tender.

    Select small to medium-sized pods that are velvety-looking and bright green, with no signs of wilting or wrinkling. Don’t think that bigger is better.

    Choose the smaller beans: They’ll be sweeter and more tender. Long, thicker beans have been left on the vine too long, and can be tough and tasteless.

    Fresh green beans should be tender enough to eat raw, and should have a crisp snap when you break them apart. If they’re rubbery and bend, pass them by.

    One our favorite green been salads is Niçoise-style: lightly steamed beans, red onion, halved cherry tomatoes and anchovies in a mustard vinaigrette, garnished with quartered hard-boiled eggs.

    You can also add boiled potatoes. Served at room temperature, it’s always a hit and is an excellent buffet dish as well.

    For people who don’t like anchovies or onions, we adapted this salad (photo above, recipe below) from Chef Sean Lyons at Distilled NY, in the TriBeCa neighborhood of Manhattan. You can serve it as a first course or a side, lightly chilled or at room temperature.


    Ingredients For 4-5 Servings

  • 1 pound green beans
  • Tabbouleh, other grain salad (barley, rice, quinoa, etc.), or bean or lentil salad
  • 6-8 ounce container plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard or sweetened plain Dijon
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Vinaigrette (recipe)
  • Garnish: Kalamata or Picholine olives -or – 1/4 pound firm white cheese*
    *Use feta, smoked mozzarella, ricotta salata or whatever your store has that can be cut into cubes.



    1. STEAM the green beans, ideally lightly so they still have a bit of crunch. Set aside.

    2. PREPARE the base salad. You can make corn corn relish, bean or grain salad. We saved time by purchasing tabbouleh and adding corn kernels.

    3. BLEND the sauce ingredients—yogurt, mustard, mayonnaise. You can tailor this to your tastes; for example, sour cream instead of yogurt, mustard and mayonnaise to taste. You want to get mild to medium mustard flavor.

    4. PREPARE the vinaigrette. We particularly like walnut or hazelnut oil with this salad, although olive oil is fine. Toss to lightly coat the string beans.

    5. USE a silicone barbecue brush to paint a swath of mustard sauce on one side of the plate or shallow bowl. Add the tabbouleh in an angle as shown. Place the green beans atop the tabbouleh.

    6. GARNISH as desired.


    Fresh Green Beans

    Green beans, also called snap beans, were bread from the older string beans. Photo courtesy Burpee.



    Green beans were formerly called string beans, because they originally had a string of tough fiber that ran the entire length of the bean. You had to remove the string from each and every bean before cooking.

    The inconvenient string was bred out over time, and people began to refer to the stringless beans as snap beans or green beans. But people who learned the name from their parents or grandparents may still use the old name.



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Made In Nature Coconut Chips

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    Madagascar Vanilla Coconut Chips. Photo
    courtesy Made In Nature.


    The new Made In Nature Organic Toasted Coconut Chips are a big hit with THE NIBBLE team. We love them for snacking and garnishing.

    Crunchy, health-tasting and versatile, we enjoyed the original plain toasted coconut chips. But the flavored versions are even better, and each is a winner:

  • Ginger Masala Chai
  • Italian Espresso
  • Maple Madagascar Vanilla
  • Mexican Spiced Cacao
  • Vietnamese Cinnamon Swirl
    A bit of maple syrup is used as a sweetener. All ingredients are organic and non-GMO* with natural flavors. The coconut chips follow the Made In Nature mission: healthy snacks and global flavors.

    The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $3.99 for a 3-ounce bag. The line is certified kosher by OU.


    *Certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified.



    Beyond delicious snacking and incorporation into your trail mix, toasted coconut chips fit into every meal of the day as a garnish:

  • Breakfast: cereal, cottage cheese, yogurt
  • Lunch: Asian chicken salad, green salad, PB&J sandwiches, soup
  • Dinner: general plate garnish, international dishes, rice and other grains
  • Dessert: cake/cupcakes/pies, fruit salad, ice cream
    You can match the flavors of the coconut chips to the flavors of your dishes; for example, Italian Espresso Coconut Chips on coffee ice cream, Mexican Spiced Cacao on anything chocolate, or Ginger Masala Chai with an Asian stir-fry and rice.

    Or mix and match the flavors. We just added Vietnamese Cinnamon Swirl on top of a baked apple. We promise, you’ll have fun being creative with these flavored coconut chips.



    You can toast your own coconut chips. Photo courtesy

    If you want to make your own coconut chips, here’s a recipe from Jodye of It takes a while to get specialty flavors perfect, though; so you might want to start with Made From Nature.

    Made In Nature is available nationwide at retailers such as Costco, REI, Safeway, Sprouts, Wegman’s and Whole Foods Market; at select natural food stores; and online.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Regrow Scallions From The Roots


    These scallions were re-grown from the sliced-off root ends. Photo courtesy Hidden
    Valley | Facebook.


    Nobody eats the roots of green onions or leeks, a sprouting bulb of garlic and other vegetable discards. They end up as landfill.

    But you can regrow some vegetable scraps in water, as long as you have a little sunlight.

    We saw this tip on Hidden Valley’s Facebook page and then did further research, ending up on A reader’s comments on that site advises:

    After the new plants have started, you can keep growing them in water or else transfer them to soil so they’ll pick up nutrients and become more flavorful.

  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Romaine
  • Scallions (Green Onions)
    Try it both ways—water and soil—and see what works for you. Make it your “indoor farming” project for fall.

    Here’s how to do it from



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Kugel

    The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah*, begins tomorrow night at sundown*. A traditional part of the dinner is kugel (KOO-gull), a casserole-like baked pudding that is served as part of the main course.

    The traditional versions in Jewish households are noodle pudding (lokshen kugel), made with egg noodles and raisins; and potato kugel; but mixed vegetable kugels have become very popular in recent decades.

    In our family’s tradition of excess, Nana always made a noodle kugel and a potato-carrot kugel. We always looked forward to them—especially the sweet noodle kugel—and always requested the crispiest† piece. Nana’s noodle pudding recipe is below.


    “Kugel” is a word from Middle High German meaning sphere, globe or ball. The Yiddish name likely originated as a reference to the first versions, baked in round pans to a puffed-up shape. (Today, kugels are often baked in square or rectangular pans.)

    According to Wikipedia, the first kugels were savory casseroles made from bread and flour. Some 800 years ago, German cooks replaced the bread and flour with noodles or farfel (pellet-shaped pasta like orzo).


    Vegetable Kugel

    A slice of vegetable kugel, made with carrot, onion, potato and zucchini. Photo courtesy Good Eggs | SF.

    Eventually eggs were incorporated. The addition of cottage cheese and milk created a custard-like consistency that is common in today’s dessert kugels.

    Polish Jews added raisins, cinnamon and cottage cheese to their noodle kugels. Jews in different communities developed their own flavors. In Jerusalem, the kugel of choice is a caramelized sugar and black pepper noodle kugel. Here’s a detailed history of kugel.

    *Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year.” Because of the nature of the Jewish calendar, the date differs each year.

    †Bake a noodle kugel for a few extra minutes and the top noodles get crisper.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/noodle kugel kitchendaily 230

    Cholesterol conscious? This noodle kugel omits the egg yolks. Recipe courtesy Kitchen
    Daily. Here’s their recipe.



    As with casseroles, there are as many types of kugel as there are cooks who conceive them. You may even have enjoyed kugel without knowing it: Baked rice pudding is a kugel (rice kugel). Carrot pudding is a kugel.

    Savory kugels are most often potato kugels, but broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cheese, spinach, yellow squash and zucchini have become popular (usually with a touch of onion). Like cauliflower and mushrooms? Put them in your kugel. Here’s a link to many savory kugel recipes.

    Sweet kugels are made with apples, butternut squash, cherries, corn, dried fruits, peaches, pineapple, rhubarb, sweet potatoes and more. You can use any fruit you fancy, from lychee to mango. Check out these sweet kugel recipes.

    There are flourless Passover kugel recipes that adapt of all of these.




  • 1/2 pound wide egg noodles
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 16 ounces small curd cottage cheese
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins (substitute dried cherries or cranberries)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 dashes salt
  • Optional: slivered almonds‡

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F.

    2. BOIL the noodles in salted water for 4 minutes; then drain. Combine the noodles with the other ingredients (except the almonds) in a large mixing bowl

    3. POUR into a greased baking pan, 9″ by 13″ baking dish (substitute 9″ by 9″ square pan). Sprinkle the optional almonds over the top. Bake until the custard is set and the top is golden brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.
    Enjoy the leftover kugel for breakfast, cold or warmed.
    ‡Some people add a can of crushed pineapple. Nana would geschrei!



    RECIPE: Prosciutto-Cucumber Roulade Appetizer

    Parma ham, also known as prosciutto, is an easy ingredient for appetizers and first courses, paired with anything from melon to salads.

    This recipe from Italian chef Nicola Batavia, of Birichin in Turin, has eye appeal, crunch and, the palate-pleasing prosciutto and gin!

    Serve it as a first course; or instead of the salad course after the main course, with a wedge of blue cheese.

    If you don’t like cucumber, you can substitute fennel.

    While the recipe is simple, the cucumber needs to be prepared a day in advance.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 3-1/2 ounces sliced Parma ham

    Parma Ham Appetizer

    Adults only: the cucumbers are marinated in gin! Photo courtesy

  • 1 cucumber, ideally English or other seedless/low seed variety
  • Sea salt
  • Gin
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: unbuttered popcorn (cute, but we substituted cubes of blue cheese)

    1. WASH the cucumber and cut it into strips. Put the strips in a container, cover with cold water and salt and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

    2. DRAIN the cucumber and immerse in gin for 2 hours.

    3. DRAIN again and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Wrap small bunches of strips into slices of Parma ham.

    4. SERVE the roulades on a plate with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and optional garnish.

    Find more Parma ham recipes at


    Prosciutto Platter

    A plate of prosciutto with traditional complements: melon, olives, cheese, pimento. Photo courtesy



    Both prosciutto (Parma ham) and Serrano hams are dry-cured: salted and hung in sheds to cure in the air. Both are served in very thin slices. (Country ham, preferred in the U.S., is smoked, and a very different style from dry-cured hams.)

    While prosciutto and Serrano hams can be used interchangeably, they are different. Prosciutto is considered more salty and fatty. Serrano is considered more flavorful and less fatty. But that’s just the beginning.

  • Prosciutto, from Italy, is cured for 10-12 months with a coating of lard.
  • Serrano, from Spain, can be cured for up to 18 months (and at the high end, for 24 months). The differing times and microclimates affect the amount of wind that dries the hams, and thus the character of the final products.
    They are also made from different breeds of pigs:

  • Prosciutto can be made from pig or wild boar, whereas Serrano is typically made from a breed of white pig.
  • The diet of the pigs differs. Parma pigs eat the local chestnuts, and are also fed the whey by-product of Parmigiano-Reggiano, made in the same area of Parma, Italy.
  • A final difference:

  • Italian-made prosciutto is never made with nitrates. American made prosciutto, as well as both domestic and Spanish Serrano-style hams, can have added nitrates.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Save The Lobster Heads & Tails

    We love this idea from Chef Ric Tramonto and John Folse of Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans.

    Rather than toss the lobster heads and tails*, they plated them. It’s beautiful, and the most fun we’ve seen since Chef David Burke’s Angry Lobster On A Bed Of Nails.

    This photo shows Restaurant R’evolution’s Lobster With Sheep’s Milk Gnocchi. We made Lobster Newburg, one of our favorite special-occasion dishes (in a cream sauce with sherry, brandy and a touch of nutmeg—here’s the Lobster Newburg recipe).

    But there’s much more to place between the heads and tails. Just a few ideas:

  • Fettuccine Alfredo or other pasta with lobster
  • Lobster & Chorizo Paella
  • Lobster Cobb Salad
  • Lobster & Coconut Milk (such as Lobster Curry and Lobster Roatan)
  • Lobster Mac & Cheese
  • Lobster Pot Pie
  • Lobster Ravioli
  • Lobster Risotto
  • Lobster Salad
  • Lobster Stew
  • Lobster Thermidor

    Now that’s a presentation! Photo courtesy Restaurant R’evolution | New Orleans.


    You can even put the head and tail on a lobster roll, or have them adorn a bowl of lobster chowder or lobster dip.

    Just set the head and tail flat on the plate. And keep recycling: At the end of the meal, you can wash the heads and tails and stick them in the freezer. How else can you use them?

    *After the meat has been removed for the recipe, of course.


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    Can’t wait to dig in? We’re ready to eat both! Photo courtesy†



    Between June and November, lobsters in the cold, clean waters of Maine shed their old shells and grow new shells. The result is known as Maine New Shell Lobster, also called soft shell lobster. It’s the sweetest, most tender lobster meat.

    The superior taste and texture is a result of the pure Gulf of Maine seawater that fills the newly formed shell. It naturally “marinates” the meat, creating a more intense lobster flavor and added moisture.

    A thinner shell also means that you can crack and eat the lobster by hand—no nutcracker necessary.

    New Shells are prized by locals as a seasonal delicacy. But they are the best-kept secret in seafood. Even professional chefs don’t know about them, and both hard shell lobsters and New Shells are available in Maine throughout summer and fall.

    Now that you’re in the know, now that you have to ask for your New Shells by name.


    Like all Maine Lobsters, New Shells are caught the old-fashioned way: by hand, without modern technology, one trap at a time. Because the soft shells are fragile, New Shells don’t travel as well as their hard shell counterparts.

    But thanks to advances in packaging and handling techniques, Maine New Shell Lobster, once only available in Maine, can also be shipped to you. Check Bayley’s Lobster Pound.

    We recently attended an event to taste the New Shells, and met several chefs and lobstermen. We asked if they find a difference between Maine lobsters and the Canadian lobsters caught farther north in the Atlantic.

    Their consensus is that, since the waters off of Maine are fed by the Labrador current which also flows past New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the lobsters are very similar.

    They opined that local differences such as diet, water temperature and water quality—which easily cause differences in oysters—are not significant.

    So buy American, but if someone offers you a Canadian lobster, eat it!

    †We disclose that these are Maine lobsters, but not New Shell lobsters. The available photos of New Shells were too plain.



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