A Hamburger Today
Daily Slice: Lydia Shire's Famous Lobster Pizza at Scampo, Boston
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
Other than her fiery red hair, legendary Boston chef Lydia Shire might be best known for her Lobster Pizza ($26). The luxe pie originated at Biba, her flagship restaurant that sadly shuttered more than a decade ago. The restaurant dazzled its customers with food that was more than cutting-edge, often boundary-pushing, and sometimes downright weird (foie gras on buckwheat Indian paper bread, anyone?). The lobster pizza, arguably her most famous dish, exemplified all of that.
The 10-inch pie is ultra-thin with a blistered, bubbly, crackly-crisp edge, but the topping is anything but light: heavy cream, caramelized shallots and garlic, and the meat of a two-pound lobster, plus handfuls of ricotta salata and Parmesan. In other words, it's like pizza topped with lobster bisque. Thank goodness for the scallions; their lean, fresh bite keeps all that rich dairy in check.
Funny thing is, lobster pizza wasn't something Shire had in the works when she wrote the menu for Biba. As the story goes, she just sort of whipped it up one season when she had a glut of lobster to use, and it was an overnight sensation. Since then, it's had a place on just about ever menu she's created, and it's a mainstay at Scampo, her inventive Italian kitchen in the Liberty Hotel. Slightly tweaked versions also appear on menus at her other restaurants, Towne Stove and Spirits (with corn and honey ricotta), her joint venture with Jasper White, and Blue Sky on York Beach (with spinach) in Maine.
Scampo at the Liberty Hotel
About the author: Liz Bomze lives in Brookline, MA, and works as the Senior Features Editor for Cook's Illustrated Magazine. In her free time, she freelances regularly for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, the Improper Bostonian, and Martha's Vineyard Magazine; practices bread-baking and canning; takes photos; reads; and watches baseball. Top 5 foods: fresh noodles, gravlax, sour cherry pie, burrata, ma po tofu.