Friend is making lobster at our place for NY Eve, what sides should I have?
Friends are bringing lobster and a lobster pot to my apt. for New Year's eve. I generally avoid lobster because, while not a vegetarian, there is something sort of heartbreaking to me about being directly responsible for it's rather grisly death. But I digress. I'm in it now, so I would love suggestions on what best to serve with it. Assume they are only doing the lobster -- what would you have (besides melted butter) as apps, sides, dessert, whatever? Thanks in advance!
I hope you consider steaming the critters - boiling all to often gets them waterlogged. I love lobster with drawn or melted butter - and it's a classic for NYeve. However, for guests who might prefer something a bit lighter - you might also wish to offer a great Maine alternative - malt vinegar. A few drops are sufficient to bring out the sweetness of the lobster meat. There's another option for slightly more festive and formal dining (no bibs) - also a classic - lobster newburg. It's an elegant and rich dish. Total time including cooking, shelling and making the easy-to-do sauce is less than an hour. Make sure you use fresh herbs if you go this route. ATK Family Cookbook has a pretty good recipe.
I must repsectfully disagree with the suggestions for asian slaws, brussels sprouts or broccoli. I've always felt they were far too strong for steamed or boiled lobster. The colors might be nice but the flavor combinations never tasted right to me (well, it's to individual taste of course). I'd skip these particular veggies for a New Year's eve dinner.
Roasted asparagus should work OK though - the only concern might be a butter overdose. Cabbage, in the form of traditional cole slaw, works because it's pretty neutral to begin with and because of the moderating influence of the mayonnaise - but you may feel it's really for more casual meals or summer time.
Lobster steamed or boiled served with butter sauce is so rich I try to serve contrasting things so the tastes don't get lost. Lobster with a really good homemade caesar salad (no bottled dressing) is my idea of a perfect meal - nothing else necessary. If I were planning to expand...
For apps, maybe serve everyone a half dozen oysters or clams on the half-shell, with cut-up lemons and cocktail sauce on the side. Grilled or steamed asparagus with an oil/balsamic vinegar dressing. Dessert - root beer floats. Clean, cool, and cuts the salt.
If you're going with a starch I'd rather have garlic bread than potatoes :), but I don't think it's necessary. (To be really decadent and soak up the leftover lemon butter.)
Any of these, but not all:
Baked goat cheese with hazelnuts and croutons
Assorted olives with lemon and thyme
Simple mixed greens vinaigrette
Asparagus wiith orange hollandaise (Maltaise)
Steamed fresh spinach with garlic
Corn souffle or pudding
Sour cream and herb mashed potatoes
Flourless chocolate cake with coffee cream
Cheesecake with berry compote
Apple galette or Tarte Tatin
Twice-baked stuffed potatoes are a good side, but with the richness of the buttered lobster and the potatoes, a plain green side like steamed peas, green beans, or broccoli.
If you want to get fancier on the vegetable, asparagus that has been cookied then marinated in a basic vinaigrette, or an Asian-style slaw of Brussels Sprouts or mixed cabbages. I'd pick a lighter appetizer and go with an impressive (yet easy to make)dessert like Bananas Foster.