Originally a method of storing lobster, this recipe has been updated by our chefs to be served as a tasty appetizer.
Origin: Province House National Historic Site
Region: Atlantic (Prince Edward Island)
Period: 19th Century
Course: Main Course
Fathers of Confederation © Library and Archives Canada
The Charlottetown Conference of 1864, which brought together the “Fathers of Confederation,” pictured above, has been described as “the most brilliant fête that has ever occurred in Charlottetown.” While the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the idea of Confederation, lavish banquets and receptions offered the visitors to Prince Edward Island a taste of the local maritime diet. Here is what was served one afternoon: “Champagne cooled in tubs of ice... and fragile meringues quivered on the long damask draped serving tables. Lobster boiled and chilled and piled on great platters, the gleam of freshly polished glasses, flowers and fruit, welcomed thirty-three hungry men at three in the afternoon.”
- 1 whole lobster
- pinch of mace
- pinch of white pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 2 whole cloves, reduced to fine powder
- ¼ lb | 113g butter, melted
- 2 bay leaves
- Take out the lobster meat as whole as you can. Split the tail and remove the gut; if the inside is not watery, add that. Season with mace, white pepper, nutmeg, salt and the cloves.
- Lay a little butter at the bottom of a pan. Place the lobster meat on top of the butter with the bay leaves between the pieces of lobster meat. Cover it with more butter and bake gently at 300 F for 15 minutes. When done, gently drain the meat and save the melted butter and juices.
- With a fork lay the pieces into 2 ramekins (4 oz) ensuring there is claw and tail meat mixed; sprinkle with mace and white pepper.
- When cool, pour the melted drained butter over the top and serve.
- In the past, the lobster meat was placed in mason jars and cooled clarified butter was poured over top. The potted lobster would last for at least a day, and if highly seasoned and thickly covered with clarified butter, much longer.
Recipe tested by Chef Steve Price, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism
This recipe is adapted from the book Ardgowan: A Journal of House and Garden in Victorian Prince Edward Island written by Julie V. Watson. Julie, author of numerous cookbooks and other works, lives in Charlottetown. For more information about Julie go to www.seacroftpei.com