Lobster and Haddock Casserole

45 Comments

This post was challenging for me to begin writing, which is not typically an issue. It’s just that so many memories came flooding back to me from when we were in Maine in October of 2021. But that’s exactly how this post came about, from an incredible day on a lobster boat.

Having never been to Maine before, a guide from Experience Maine recommended various activities, and one was spending a day with Linda Greenlaw on her working lobster boat. The day would end with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a lobster feast. I was certainly excited about dinner, but I knew the day would also be educational.

So, who is this Linda Greenlaw? This can’t be answered in one sentence. She is a daughter of a lobster fisherman, born and raised in Maine, lives on Isle au Haut, and certainly one claim to fame is being America’s only female swordfishing captain.

Here she is – small but mighty – second from the left.

From her website, Linda Greenlaw Books, Greenlaw first came to the public’s attention in Sebastian Junger’s book The Perfect Storm, where Junger called her “one of the best captains … on the entire east coast.” She was also portrayed in the movie The Perfect Storm, played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

But it doesn’t end there. She also wrote the following books:
The Hungry Ocean, 1999, about her life as a swordfishing captain.
The Lobster Chronicles, 2001, about her life on a very small island.
All Fishermen are Liars, 2004, true stories from real fishermen.
Seaworthy, 2010, an inspirational story of her return to the sea.
Lifesaving Lessons, 2013, a memoir about her experience as an “accidental mother”.

Then, Ms. Greenlaw wrote mystery books! Here I’ve photographed 3 of many…

Because this is a food blog, I’ll get to yet another one of Linda Greenlaw’s achievements. Actually, two. Here are cookbooks written with her mother Martha, on regional Maine cuisine. Recipes from a Very Small Island was published in 2005, and The Maine Summers Cookbook, in 2011. Now do you see how I wasn’t too sure how to start writing about Linda?! She does everything!

The actual name of this recipe, one of her mother’s, is Head Harbor Lobster & Haddock Casserole. And I guess if you are married to a lobster fisherman, you get very creative with lobster!

Or, just serve it steamed. On a boat. As the sun sets.

Head Harbor Lobster and Haddock Casserole
Serves 10-12

2 pounds haddock filets
4 ounces unsalted butter
1/2 cup white flour
3 cups half and half
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon horseradish
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 ounces medium-dry sherry
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
3/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 pound, about 3 cups, diced cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Butter a shallow 3-quart casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the haddock in a skillet, add water to cover, bring to a simmer, and cook gently until the fish is no longer translucent in the center, about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. When cool enough to handle, break the fish into small chunks.

I ordered lobster tails so I prepared the meat by boiling them for 1 minute per ounce, placed in iced water, then removed the meat.

In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium to medium-high heat, whisking, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the half and half, bring to a boil, and cook, whisking for 1 minute. Whisk in the ketchup, horseradish, mustard, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes to blend the flavors. Whisk in the sherry and parsley and season with salt. The sauce will be very thick at this point; it will thin out with the addition of the seafood.

In a large bowl, combine the haddock and lobster meat with the sauce. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Transfer to the prepared dish, sprinkle with the crumbs, and drizzle with melted butter.

Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes.

I served the casserole with a cherry tomato salad in a zingy parsley vinaigrette with capers.

I love the flavors of the bechamel in this casserole. They were spot on. And what a delight to enjoy the fresh haddock and lobster in this way.

A nice green salad, perhaps with a lemon dressing, would also be good.

45 thoughts on “Lobster and Haddock Casserole

    • I use Fulton Fish Market, but of course they come frozen. Amazing taste and texture, though. I bought more to make lobster, crab, and salmon crepes for Christmas. good quality control. But I’m with you – I wish seafood was more easily available! Happy New Year!

  1. I spent early childhood and most summers since the age of 12 in Maine. I have fond memories of eating haddock stuffed with a crabmeat and breadcrumb mixture that was my favorite at Valle’s restaurant in Westbrook. Valle’s closed back in the 80’s, I believe, and there were a few local restaurants that served something similar but not as good.
    I can not wait to try this recipe. I am now living in Tennessee and long for those gorgeous summer days in Maine. Great story about Captain Greenlaw! Cheers to strong women!

  2. this sounds like a wonderful dish (I love lobster!) and what a woman. so clever, so amazing. Some people just have it all. Have a great New Year.
    cheers
    sherry

  3. She’d written books about her experiences, which makes sense, but then her editor says, “why not write some mystery novels?” Sheesh. I’d have no idea how to go about doing that. But I don’t read them… Anyhoo, Happy New Year!

  4. Well, this just sounds like an amazing adventure! What a terrific story and the lobster and haddock dish looks rich and lovely. I grew up in western New York where haddock is beer battered and fried on Fridays, but I have rarely enjoyed it in such an elegant meal as this.

    Thanks for sharing it, Mimi! Now I want to visit Maine. 😁

  5. Oh to have travelled in 2021! We did a short driving trip about 2 hours from home but that was it. Our winter trip to Spain was just cancelled today and it’s really bumming me out. The talking heads here are probably going to postpone the kiddies going back to school and there has been some news about restaurants being reduced from 50% capacity to less. It’s really a mess.
    This recipe must have brought back some wonderful memories, and it looks absolutely delicious.
    Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and will have a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

    • We’ve had an international trip canceled twice, so fingers crossed for this year. It’s really not looking good…. It was nice to travel domestically a few times in the last couple of years, but like you, we love serious traveling! Here’s hoping things get better fast. Happy New Year!

  6. Last night on New Years Eve, I grilled four lobsters for my family. I was surprised they wound up costing about $70 each- total bill was $280! That’s OK for a once-a-year treat. I think preparing lobsters in a simple recipe is best, otherwise the taste gets swallowed up. Happy New Year!

    • Expensive, but not something you buy every day! When I made this casserole, I’d ordered a dozen lobster tails, and believe me, I enjoyed the rest just dipped in butter! I’m not even a casserole gal, but I wanted to make a lobster recipe from the cookbook, and it turned out good. When you live surrounded by lobsters, you don’t mind throwing some meat into a casserole!!! Happy New Year!

  7. We were in Maine in October! Would be happy to cross paths sometime. Thank you for introducing me to Linda Greenlaw. Terrific story and what a different recipe for lobster! Will share with my New England friends. Always a great post, Mimi.

    • We’d never been to Maine before last July, so it was really a treat. The Linda Greenlaw day was our favorite, not just because of the lobster feast! Personally I’d just rather steam a lobster, but I wanted to make something from a cookbook, and this turned out very good!

  8. What an amazing woman and a wonderful recipe. Our kid went to college in Maine. As an only child she wanted to get as far away from N CA as possible! We loved the lobster when we visited but it’s difficult to find on the West coast, we will have to settle for crab. Happy New Year, good memories.

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