Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Taste of Maine

Today's post is brought to you thanks to an extended vacation and an old family recipe.

Still haven't done much cooking. That may be the best part of vacation.

Not really. For me, the best part of this vacation was the long walks with Fenway on the beach every night. For most of the summer, dogs are barred from the beach, but every night from 6 - 8 they are allowed on leash. My silly dog who hates HATES getting his feet wet, and balks at walking in the rain, LOVES the beach. All he has to hear is me say, "Fenny, want to go to the beach?" and his tail starts wagging and his face breaks into a grin. From the moment we exit the car, he is yanking me toward the water. It's funny to watch him approach the water and then dance out of the way of the incoming waves.

Do we really have to leave?

I took this video of him charging ahead of me. He loves to sniff the seaweed.

SO on to food.  Since I'm talking Maine and seafood and beaches, I thought I would share a favorite recipe from a few years ago.

One of our favorite places to eat a casual meal while we're here is the Maine Diner.  I had a wonderful lobster roll for lunch there, but my favorite dish to get is their lobster pie.

The first time I ordered it, I was anticipating something along the lines of of chicken pot pie but with lobster. It turned out not to be nothing at all like that, but it was so much better.

After my first bite, I turned to my husband and said, "This tastes like Sam's fish."

Sam was an elderly man who cooked for my husband's even more elderly mother and aunt back when we were first married. They lived on a gorgeous estate on Cape Cod - 2 sisters and Sam and his wife.

My husband LOVED Sam's fish, so with my newlywed enthusiasm, I tried everything I could think of to replicate it. I bought every type of bread crumbs I could find, but the response was always, "Good, but not like Sam's."

Finally, in desperation, I told Sam my sad tale. He laughed and took me into the pantry where he shared his secret crust - Ritz crackers and butter. Yup. That was all. He'd smash the crackers, mix with melted butter, and layer onto the fish. So simple, but SO tasty. My marriage was safe!

So when I took that first bite of lobster pie this summer, and it tasted like lobster with Sam's crust, I was highly suspicious that I knew the special family recipe. In the name of research, I went into the gift shop and bought a cookbook of diner recipes which included the lobster pie. Sure enough - Ritz crackers and butter!

My Friday night dinner!

It was very good. Yum.

I haven't made Sam's fish in many years (in the name of low cholesterol and all that jazz), but after we returned home, I decided to give it a try for old times sake (and to post here). So without further ado - the 4 step fish recipe.

1. Smash the Ritz crackers. I do it in a baggie with an ice cream scoop.
2. Melt butter in microwave and mix in the cracker crumbs.
3. Spread on the fish (I used haddock. Sam always used sole.)
4. Bake. You can broil briefly at the end if you feel the need to brown the crumbs, but be careful!


I'm curious. Have any of you ever made this?

As you can probably tell from the photo above, the lobster pie uses fresh lobster rather than haddock and they cook it in a mini casserole dish. So.much.goodness.

I'll leave you with some more photos of my favorite beach,

 And these from the Marginal Way.


  1. I love these photos! I'll hold down the beach over here with my Dogger, and you can hold down yours with Fenway. :)

  2. Sounds like a plan. I'm often reminded of your beaches when we're in Maine. I guess that's not really surprising.

  3. There's something about the sound of the waves -- so soothing. Love the way Fenway walks with such purpose. Like he might miss something if you don't hurry up. LOL Glad he's having a grand doggie holiday -- you too, of course. :-)

    1. Kav, I posted a waves video on Facebook for you.

      He is funny charging ahead like that. He doesn't usually do that when we walk. Only at the ocean.

  4. Anything with Ritz crackers is delicious! No wonder your husband loves Sam's fish!

    I love those beach pictures. Just love them. My poor husband has never been to the ocean. Can you believe that? But that's part of living in the Midwest. Mountains we can do, but the ocean is a long drive from the center of the country.

    I love ocean beaches. How long has it been since I've been to ocean? We're celebrating our 35th anniversary this year. Do the math. ;)

    Finally - Yay for Fenway! He's looking happy and chipper!

    1. Oh, I really hope your husband gets to visit the ocean some day. I often think of the main character in Sarah, Plain and Tall and how she can't stand being away from the ocean. I think that would be me.

  5. I'm with Jan, Mary Cate. Anything with Ritz crackers is delicious. But with lobster.... Be still my heart.

    Dogs are so funny. Glad Fenway is enjoying his vacation. And why wouldn't he? It's gorgeous up there. Nice and cool, too, I bet. Well, by comparison anyway.

    1. Ironically, there have been days while we've been up here that it's been cooler at home. But home doesn't have the gorgeous beaches within walking distance.

  6. I am in love.... and did you know you can make a crabmeat casserole (with the imitation crab) and top it with this crust and it's amazing, too? Which means the Ritz crackers and butter are the draw!!! :)

    I learned it at Basel's restaurant and the crabmeat was done with minced celery and shredded cheese and a little garlic... and then piled into a mini casserole and topped with the cracker butter combo.

    Cate, you just brought back so many wonderful memories!

    And that beach. I need to move to the ocean. I would love that.


    I would love that.

    I think it's time!!!!!

    1. Or at least time for a writers' retreat here, right?

      I'm sure ANY kind of seafood would taste amazing with that crust, Ruthy. Let's hear it for Ritz crackers.

  7. Thanks for sharing your amazing pictures. Last year was the first time we visited Maine, and we love it.

    1. I remember you sharing all your pictures last year. We missed our trip last year because of Fenway's illness, so I enjoyed it vicariously through you.

  8. How beautiful!!! And so is the beach.

    Hahaha. Just kidding. But that casserole is beautiful. I love anything lobster or crab. And Ritz crackers with melted butter was our topping for most casseroles while I was growing up.

    Ruthy, I'll have to try that fake crab recipe, too. We love that stuff! :)

    Mary Cate, what a gorgeous vacation spot! Thanks for sharing the photos. Looks like a wonderful time!

    1. Missy, it is gorgeous. We went back tonight and I had the same lobster pie!

  9. BTW, for some reason, Ruthy's post went up today. So I re-set it for tomorrow.

    1. Oh, thanks, Missy. I didn't even notice.