From the tiny restaurant's amazing new cookbook.
Is there anything more Maine than a shrimp roll? Anything that screams seashore! quite as loudly? With just fresh seafood, tartar sauce and a toasty bun, a shrimp roll evokes something natural, as though it belongs only outdoors in the salty air, on the deck of a seafood shack or a gingham picnic blanket.
The great state of Maine is perhaps better known for showier seafood spectacles: giant lobsters dipped in butter, epic clam boils that take up a whole stretch of beach, communal rituals for celebrating the ocean’s bounty. But Maine shrimp are famous, too, at least regionally—known for being particularly sweet and supple. And despite several years of meager hauls and increasing regulations to mitigate overfishing, the shrimp roll endures as a quintessentially Maine way to enjoy the state’s other notable crustacean.
This version is from The Lost Kitchen by Erin French, chef-owner of the Freedom, ME restaurant of the same name. And yes, that is the 40-seat restaurant that received 10,000 calls from hopeful prospective diners last week. Since its opening in July of 2014—reborn after a difficult period in French’s life from the ashes of its previous iteration, in the nearby seaside town of Belfast—The Lost Table has become one of the most sought-after reservations in New England.
French's ode to the “Vacationland” state—with recipes for every season, from summer squash blossoms to winter scallops and game meat—wanders into fanciful territory with dishes like Fried Rabbit and Stew of Moose with Parsley Dumplings. But interspersed between the more inventive dishes are essential Maine classics—baked beans, apple cider donuts, blueberries and cream, a brilliant, unfussy shrimp roll with butter lettuce on a hot dog bun.
The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine by Erin French. $32.50.