A Win with Lobster

Sweet lobster meat, ethereal coconut milk, sweet-salty Aleppo pepper, aromatic turmeric, earthy cumin and savory dried lime—this flavor combination secured Matt Ginn, Chef/Owner of EVO Kitchen + Bar in Portland, Maine, the title of 2015 Maine Lobster Chef of the Year. In a competition presented by the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, his winning dish of Maine Lobster with Turkish Pasta stands out with assertive Middle Eastern flavors that don’t overpower the delicately sweet lobster. “The secret ingredient here is dried lime,” he says. “The use of dried lime is prevalent in Mediterranean cuisine. I use it in various soups and stocks to give them umami flavor that transforms a lot of dishes. In using it, I found that the flavors really complemented Maine lobster, so I added it to the coconut milk in this lobster dish.” Delicate folds of housemade pasta stuffed with roasted squash, yogurt and lime accompany the lobster, which sits on a bed of squash purée. Right before service, Ginn warms the poached lobster meat in a bit of olive oil infused with lime zest. “The building and layering of the flavor profiles in the dish are really present to the diner,” he says. “The stock sets the stage, and then the Maine lobster and pasta add different textures that complement one another.”

“Chef Ginn’s winning dish is outstanding,” says Matt Jacobson, Executive Director of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative. “It’s packed with unique Mediterranean flavors that both highlight the sweetness and texture of the protein while demonstrating how versatile Maine Lobster can be as an ingredient.”