Saturday, October 18, 2008
Head Of The Charles Regatta 2008
Crew teams practicing in the sunny but cool Fall weather.
The New England colors are in full blaze, the weather is sunny and brisk and thousands of international visitors are crowding the banks of the Charles River this weekend - and filling the bars and restaurants in Cambridge and Boston, too. What a perfect occasion for a picnic! It's the 44th Annual Head of The Charles Regatta, which draws crew teams from all over the world, and after a very slow few weeks restaurants are quite happy to see them.
The weather is even cooperating! I seem to recall that for the past few years it has poured rain non-stop during the entire three day event. It's great to hear all the French, German and British accents as one is out and about.
Crew teams glide across the Charles River.
As we snacked on Upper Crust Pizza and Nantucket Nectar we cheered on teams from the Netherlands, U.K. and Spain as well as those all over the U.S.A. and Canada. There are also dozens of food vendors set up along the banks to feed the cheering fans. One of the most popular tents was the Immaculate Baking Company, who was giving away fresh-baked, still warm chocolate chip cookies just out of their portable ovens. As good as Mom's, I swear.
One of the very popular items on menus this Fall is macaroni and cheese with lobster. A new twist on a comfort favorite, it's been popping up all over. We also thought it would be the ideal meal for any crew team after a long day of competition in the chilly New England weather. So here's a recipe we can all enjoy.
Crew teams compete at The Head of the Charles Regatta
All tables are full at Grendel's Den in Cambridge.
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
From: Bon Appétit Magazine
Ingredients1 1 3/4- to 2-pound live lobster
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, shells reserved
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped peeled carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
3 cups water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese (about 6 ounces)
8 ounces shell or gemelli pasta
6 ounces fresh crabmeat, picked over
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Plunge lobster headfirst into pot of boiling water; boil 4 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to cutting board. Cut off tail and claws. Crack tail and claws and remove meat. Cut meat into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut body and shells into 2-inch pieces. Chill meat; reserve shells.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add lobster body, lobster shells, and shrimp shells to skillet and sauté 4 minutes. Add onion and next 4 ingredients; sauté 6 minutes. Add tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in Cognac. Add 3 cups water; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
Strain mixture into bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids. Set stock aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; sauté until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Cool slightly. Coarsely chop shrimp.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; stir 1 minute. Add stock and cream; simmer until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Add cheese; stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Stir lobster, shrimp, pasta, crab, and 2 tablespoons butter into sauce. Stir over medium-low heat until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with chives.