Chef Kara van Emmerik shows how fresh seafood is the perfect partner for bright summer flavors. 

While lobster treats are no rarity in coastal Maine, at Dudley's Refresher—a seasonal takeout eatery in the tiny seaside village of Castine—chef de cuisine Kara van Emmerik elevates these Down East treasures with peak-season flavors in authentic and scratch-made dishes.

"For me, cooking means utilizing the foods that are abundant and most intriguing in any given season. It ensures a freshness that cannot be replicated," van Emmerik says. This sentiment is deliciously embodied in her supple poached lobster tails topped with delicately dressed pea shoots.

Fresh lobster needs gentle cooking methods such as steaming or poaching, van Emmerik explains; techniques such as boiling, roasting, or grilling are more prone to overcooking the lobster, yielding tough, rubbery meat. Try her original version of this dish, plus even more North Atlantic-inspired summer flavors, this month at Dudley's Refresher.

Poached Lobster Tails with Dressed Pea ShootsHands-on: 15 min. Total: 50 min.Simmer gently so the lobster stays supple.

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper2 garlic cloves, halved1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced1 (2-inch) piece lemongrass, halved4 cups unsalted vegetable stock2 1/2 tablespoons honey2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar2 1/2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce, divided1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper4 (5-ounce) fresh lobster tails4 teaspoons canola oil2 teaspoons honey1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind1 tablespoon fresh lime juice1/4 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger1/4 teaspoon minced shallots3 ounces pea shoots1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low. Add red pepper, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass; cook 5 minutes. Stir in stock, honey, vinegar, and 2 1/4 teaspoons soy sauce. Bring to a simmer; cover and cook 30 minutes. Stir in black pepper.
  2. Place tails in stock. Cover; cook 4 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145°. Remove tails from pan.
  3. Split tails lengthwise. Remove meat from shells; slice. Pour cooking liquid through a sieve into a saucepan; discard solids. Keep liquid warm over low heat.
  4. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoons soy sauce, canola oil, and next 5 ingredients; stir with a whisk. Add pea shoots; toss.
  5. Place about 1/3 cup cooking liquid in each of 4 shallow bowls. Arrange about 3 ounces lobster meat in each bowl; top each serving with about 1/3 cup pea shoots. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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