Certain expectations surround a lobster dinner, and to meet them, you have to be prepared. Even a perfectly cooked lobster can't be served alone, but at the same time, it's better to present that impeccable crustacean solo than with less-than-stellar side dishes. Strike a careful balance that complements, rather than overpowers, your main dish, and you'll present a feast that exceeds even the most inventive imaginations.
Quiet the Haters with These Crowd-Pleasing Potatoes
A plate of twice-baked potatoes would be a delectable pairing to a lobster platter on its own, but this recipe calls for the finished plate to come with a side of beer cheese sauce. Be sure to glance at your most discerning friend when you serve these beauties.
Bake Biscuits That Will Be Coveted Prizes
Guests will always find room on their plates for biscuits, and this recipe for the delicious pastries blends bacon and cheddar into the mix. Not only will people take one for themselves, they might just snatch them off other guests' plates.
Cook Broccoli That Turns "Basic" into a Compliment
Calling something "basic" isn't normally a good thing, but this recipe for roasted broccoli may be the exception. Garlic and lemon add layers to the veggie's flavor, and help make something that looks -- well, simple -- taste far from it.
Present the Unexpected with This Quinoa Dish
You never want to throw a dinner party that feels predictable, and with this mushroom quinoa risotto, your seafood spread will keep people on their toes. Grated parmesan and a half-cup of white wine are what make this dish pop.
Roast Root Vegetables to Turn the Table into a Color Wheel
A bright table is an appetizing one, and your red lobster will look even more inviting when coupled with the variegated hues of root vegetables. Serve the meal on white plates, and the colors will definitely stand out.
Heat Things Up With Bacon Corn Chowder
Don't be discouraged if the weather doesn't live up to your party plan. Cold nights can make homemade dinners feel all the more intimate, and this recipe for bacon corn chowder will introduce a cozy atmosphere before your lobster entrée is served.
Create a Loaf of Bread that Makes Forks Optional
Part of the fun in eating shellfish is that it's perfectly acceptable to chow down with your hands. Expand on that sentiment and bake Italian bread made with fresh herbs, and your guests can scoop up lobster meat or soak up butter without much help from utensils.
Don't Make a Salad that Everyone Sees Coming
Sure, you can call it a day with a bowl of romaine. But if you really want your dinner to be memorable, opt for Brussels sprouts tossed with pomegranates instead. The flavor combination provides a complex contrast to lobster, and for an added benefit, you can prep most of it ahead of time.
Whip Up a Fresh Take on Grilled Corn
Corn on the cob is a staple of seafood dining, but these variations do more to the kernels than add a simple dash of salt. Choose your favorite flavors -- from cilantro, to honey, to even bourbon -- and show them off in mouth-watering stacks.
Simplify the Reward with a Linguine Sidekick
Between cracking, plucking, dunking, and eating coveted lobster meat, there's a lot of work involved in just one bite of your dinner. Those steps are worth it, but this basil pesto linguine just takes a twirl of a fork before it's ready to eat. Prepare it for those who are really hungry.
Glaze Carrots That No One Will Want to Skip Over
Carrots aren't usually high on people's priorities, but you'll easily change the minds of your guests with this recipe for glazed baby carrots. An Indian spice blend called garam masala gives the carrots an unexpected heat, and the flavor can be intensified according to taste.
Psych Everyone Up to Do a Shot
Throwing a dinner party means that you're past the days of house parties and red cups, and this recipe for oh-so-classy bloody Mary oyster shooters will prove your point. But don't be alarmed if one guest empties the serving in a single slurp -- those old days weren't that long ago.
Figure Out a Way to Put More Butter on the Table
It goes without saying that beautiful little bowls of melted butter will be dotting your dining table for the lobster feast, but honestly, that probably isn't enough. Slip even more into the equation with this sweet potato recipe -- which features, surprise, melted brown butter -- because heaps of this ingredient is never a bad thing.
You'll Want to Shake It, Not Stir
While this recipe isn't necessarily a side dish, no one will complain about a lobster dinner that also includes fresh cocktails. Play bartender before the main dish is unveiled, and blend pomegranate, tonic, gin, and juices together in one eye-catching drink.
Bundle Together a Taste of Two Worlds
All great dinner parties should blend social circles, and this recipe follows that mindset: crispy green beans are wrapped in an equally-crispy strip of prosciutto, making a side dish that is intriguing and approachable. Sounds just like your guest list.