It was a wintry day when Peter Miller and I visited Skip Connell’s shop in …
Have You Ever Tried a New Shell Lobster?
Everyone knows lobster is special. (Actually, more than just special—42% of Americans consider lobster the world’s most romantic food.) But is it possible there’s a food more special than this date-night staple?
Yeah. But it’s also lobster.
There’s a time of year when the meat from Maine Lobsters is at its sweetest and most lobstery. From mid-summer to mid-fall, lobsters in the cold, clear waters of Maine shed their old shells and grow new ones. These tender crustaceans are called “New Shells,” and they’re prized by well-informed locals as a seasonal delicacy.
Much softer than they were in their cold-weather shells, they break easily when cooked, revealing the most delicious lobster meat of the year. Because the shells are tender, lobster enthusiasts can dig in with bare hands, sans tools or sore fingers.
Like all Maine Lobsters, New Shells are caught the old-fashioned way: By hand, without modern technology, one trap at a time. Because those soft shells are fragile, these lobsters don’t travel as well as their hard shell counterparts—so if you’ve been planning a trip to New England, book those tickets posthaste. You’ll need to get local for a taste of New Shell this summer.
And since New Shells are the best-kept secret in seafood, even trained chefs are just now getting the memo. Both hard shell lobsters and New Shells are available in Maine throughout the warm months, so if you’re eager to try this seasonal treat, you’ll have to ask for your New Shells by name.