Fun fact about me: I was obsessed with Red Lobster growing up. In fact, I spent at least three of my preteen birthdays there, scarfing down a basket of Cheddar Bay Biscuits and my very own one-pound lobster with unbridled glee.
Why? Lobster is the crown jewel of the ocean — and even though I was young when I had my first taste, I quickly realized that I was eating the good stuff. Lobster meat is sweet, tender, and has that light, ocean-fresh flavor. While the price tag might be a bit steep, it certainly makes any dinner (especially birthdays) feel like a special occasion. Nowadays, I can't get enough of lobster rolls and big seafood boils during the hotter months, but there are so many other ways to enjoy this popular crustacean throughout the season.
So I've rounded up 12 of our very best lobster recipes just in time for summer, from a chilled avocado soup to a spicy tomato spaghetti. There are a handful of our favorite lobster roll recipes in there, too, because any lobster-y list wouldn't be complete without at least a few of them.
These Genius-approved lobster rolls are famous for a reason: The lobster is steamed slowly and gently before getting tossed in a special tarragon mayonnaise. Oh, and you can't forget that fluffy, butter-toasted roll.
You won't find a better lobster-y recipe for ripe summer tomatoes than lobster diavolo, a classic Italian pasta that gets its kick from red pepper flakes or Calabrian chiles.
Simple potato hash with a fried egg gets taken up about a hundred or so notches when you bring sweet, rich lobster meat into the mix — perfect for breakfast or brunch the day after a big lobster boil.
This dish is all about taking a humble ingredient — fennel — and cooking it nice and slowly until it becomes something altogether luxurious, elegant, and delicious. The fresh lobster meat, white wine, and heavy cream don't hurt either.
This Catalan-style paella calls on tons of smoky spices, herbs, and vegetables to create an earthy, fresh-tasting dish that has just the right amount of from-the-sea flavor thanks to cuttlefish, squid, mussels, clams, cod, and a lobster stock that makes it.
You probably know and love a traditional Caprese salad: juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and basil. But once you try it with nutty, brown butter lobster and crunchy raw corn, you'll never look back.
There's always going to be lobster roll lovers out there who like theirs with nothing but steamed lobster in a buttered, toasted bun — not a lick of mayo in sight. But the recipe author for this lobster roll likes to mix things up by bringing in a lemony mayo, chives, and a bit of crisp Boston lettuce.
If you've already had one too many lobster rolls this season (is that even possible?), give this avocado panini a shot — it's light, easy, and perfect for leftovers.
For special-occasion summer dinners, it doesn't get better than this creamy lobster risotto. Think: Arborio rice cooked until perfectly al dente in broth, dry white wine, and juicy San Marzano tomatoes. A sprinkling of fresh parsley at the end adds just the right brightness.
Sweet corn and lobster make a tasty duo in this silky pappardelle pasta, while salty pancetta and tangy crème fraîche bring a bit of balance.
Take what you think you know about lobster rolls and throw it out the window. This version from Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine warms up the lobster in browned butter and stuffs it in a fluffy steamed bun.
This chilled, ready-for-summer soup gets its smooth creaminess from avocados, broth, and a splash of cream, plus a little bit of smoky heat from chipotle and cayenne pepper.
This story was originally published on Food52.com: 12 lobster recipes we're not keeping to ourselves because that would be 'shellfish'.