There are few entrees more succulent than lobster. And bonus -- it's a healthy option and a good source of protein. While the lobster will be the star of your meal, you'll need side dishes and accompaniments to round out your dinner. Look to dishes that will let the lobster shine while adding different flavors and textures. Above all, pick accompaniments that are relatively quick and easy to prepare so you can concentrate on cooking the lobster perfectly. Children are sure to be fascinated by the exotic main course, and the flavor will quickly win them over.
The centerpiece of every lobster dinner is, obviously, the lobster. Know ahead of time how you'll pick up the lobsters, especially if you're buying them live. You'll want to buy live lobsters the day of your dinner for maximum freshness. Remember to take a head count before going out to buy the crustaceans, as lobster is expensive and, while delicious, buying too many will likely put a strain on your wallet.
Complement your lobster meat with a variety of dipping sauces. While the traditional route calls for butter, expand on your offerings so your guests can mix and match or choose their favorite flavor. For acidic tastes, offer a lemon aioli. For a twist on traditional butter, mix garlic and butter together. You can even use your favorite creamy salad dressings or prepared creamy dips and sauces. Put each kind of dip into one of several small bowls ahead of time and space them around the table so diners have access to all kinds.
Keep the vegetable offerings simple and easy to prepare. Steam broccoli or corn on the cob as the lobster is cooking, for example, for a no-fuss vegetable side dish. Or, make a cold vegetable dish, such as a green bean or cucumber salad with creamy cole slaw dressing, ahead of time. Pick a vegetable preparation method that doesn't rely on the same equipment you're using to cook the lobster. For example, don't grill vegetables if you're grilling the lobster. This way the grill is completely free for the lobsters and you don't have to worry about temperature fluctuations.
Bread not only adds a starch to your lobster meal, but it is extremely helpful for sopping up all that good lobster juice. And, you can spoon on some of the dipping sauces for an added flavor. Make cornbread ahead of time for a lobster menu popular in New England. Or buy rolls or loaves of bread and simply heat them in the oven for several minutes before serving.
Lobster is a rich meal, so a light salad is called for. Instead of a salad laden with cheese and meats, prepare a fresh vegetable salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and other favorite vegetables. Lightly dress and toss the salad with creamy dressing just before serving, or serve it dry and allow your guests to choose their own dressing. Consider providing separate bowls or small plates for the salad. This keeps the lettuce from drowning in juices from the lobster and keeps the salad crisp.
Tallulah Philange has worked as a journalist since 2003. Her work has appeared in the "Princeton (N.J.) Packet," "Destinations" magazine and in higher education publications. She also has edited and produced online content for those publications. Philange holds a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from American University and a Master of Arts in communication, culture and technology from Georgetown University.