Nearly everyone on Maine’s Little Cranberry Island makes this pie and it has evolved as the island’s residents improvise and add to the basic ingredients of lobster and carrots in a cream sauce, covered with buttery mashed potatoes. After my friend Sonja’s wedding on the island a few years ago (I arrived on a tiny mail boat from Northeast Harbor), we walked up the road to the Islesford Neighborhood House, used for community activities, and this was the main course at the reception, made by many locals. The bride began with a version from Karen Fernald, daughter of lobsterman Warren Fernald, and tweaked it with cream cheese and Parmesan to come up with this. It tasted very good and should have: The lobsters had been caught that morning in the waters just beyond where we ate.
|Butter (for the dish)|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|4||medium carrots, cut into|
|3||medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered|
|6||tablespoons unsalted butter|
|2||tablespoons cream cheese|
|⅓||cup whole milk|
|3||tablespoons chopped fresh chives|
|1||medium shallot, finely chopped|
|½||cup light cream|
|½||cup bottled clam broth mixed with ¼ cup water|
|¼||teaspoon ground nutmeg|
|1||pound cooked lobster meat, diced|
|2||tablespoons grated Parmesan|
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch-square baking dish.
2. In a large pot of salted water, bring the carrots to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until they are tender. Drain and transfer to the baking dish.
3. Rinse and refill the pot with water. Add a large pinch of salt and the potatoes. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and return to the pot. With a potato masher, beat in 3 tablespoons of the butter, the cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper until smooth and fluffy. Stir in the chives; set aside.
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Cook the shallot, stirring often, for 3 minutes. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Slowly add the cream, stirring constantly, then stir in the clam broth mixture, nutmeg, and sherry. Continue stirring until the mixture begins to bubble. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and fold in the lobster meat. Spread the mixture over the carrots. With a rubber spatula, spread the mashed potatoes evenly on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
6. Bake the pie for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling at the edges. Let the pie rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with chives. Jocelyn Ruggiero. Adapted from Sonja Moser