I am in Cape Cod today, on vacation with my husband’s extended family. Yesterday it was my turn to make dinner, and I envisioned a gorgeous piece of broiled bluefish. I made the fatal mistake of sharing this vision with my in-laws.
“Bluefish? Really?” said my brother-in-law Scott, as if I’d announced I was braising a hedgehog. He begged for an alternative. My sister-in-law Julie chimed in: “But please, no salmon. Too fishy. Or tilapia. It tastes like dust.”
When I suggested shrimp or scallops, my niece Katy made a barfing sound. Cousin Noah let it be known that hates halibut and Suzie is sick of sole. Bette said flounder was too boring, and octopus was a non-starter since Uncle Johnny won’t eat things with more than four legs. Aunt Sue won’t eat squid, having been traumatized by “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” as a child.
I tried to appeal on the basis of geography. “What about cod?” I said. “In honor of our current location?” I was greeted with blank stares. “Okay, well, catfish?”
“Ew. Bottom-feeders,” said my daughter Nora.
“Oysters!” I shrieked. “This is the land of oysters! Go with it!” In my desperation I’d temporarily forgotten my allergy to them.
Eventually it was agreed that I’d make swordfish, but by the time I got to the fish market, it was sold out. (Maybe there is a Picky Family Convention in town.) So, I gave up on seafood and made chicken. Bu from now on, when I am planning a menu for the family, it’s going to be Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. If they don’t like what I serve, let ’em eat hedgehog.
P.S. Another thing I would have loved to make while on the Cape is one of my favorite summer recipes–lobster salad–but my husband Tom won’t eat lobster Julie won’t eat tomatoes, Will won’t eat cucumbers, and a couple of family carbo-phobes won’t eat corn or pasta. But I will share the recipe with you, so you can make it for your family. I hope they are a more tolerant bunch than mine.
½ pound rotelle pasta
4 ears corn
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds fresh cooked lobster
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 English cucumber
½ cup chopped fresh dill
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup snipped fresh chives
1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, adding a splash of olive oil to the water to keep the pasta from sticking together. Cook pasta until al dente (tender), about ten minutes. Drain the pasta and set it aside to col.
2. Add about two inches of fresh water to the pasta pot and bring it to a boil. Add the corn and cook for just two minutes. Drain the corn and set it aside to cool.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
4. Cut the lobster into bite-size chunks and place it in a large bowl. Scrape the corn kernels from the cobs and add them to the bowl. Halve the grape tomatoes and add them to the bowl. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the cucumber halves in half lengthwise and then cut into ¼ inch slices and add to the bowl.
5. Add the chopped herbs and the pasta to the bowl and toss the salad, adding enough dressing to lightly coat all the ingredients. Serve immediately, or chill for a few hours and serve it later.