Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lobster from Pot to Mouth

Ready to cook. Photo by Debi Lander.
Having learned how to plank salmon, we figured how hard could boiling a lobster be, right?

Right, with lobsterman and Liscombe Lodge Food and Beverage manager Ryan Hagen showing the way. Still, a lot to learn.

Male or female? Females have the longer tails for carrying eggs. Females gestate for nine months but, lucky gals, can choose when during a two-year period they want to start.

Males have the larger claws. Ah, those claws. One is the pincer, the other the crusher and you don’t want to be caught by either so pick a lobster up on its carapace behind and out of range of the claws.

Lobster 101. Photo by Debi Lander.
It takes these crustaceans seven years to mature and are best caught just after molting. Prices here vary with the size of the catch, $6.50 a pound if plentiful, $10 and up a pound if  sparse.

You can keep them alive in the fridge under wet newspaper for up to four days, but don’t ever eat a lobster that has died before hitting the boiling water.

Ryan says lobsters don't feel pain, although who but the lobster knows for sure? They are very lethargic, cold water creatures by nature, so what is pain to us probably doesn't wake up until the lobster is already dead.

Think of the sensuous luxury of consuming that fresh, warm meat and let your lobster take the plunge.  Remove the rubber bands from its claws first, says Ryan.

Ryan adds lobsters to the pot. Photo by Debi Lander.
When cooking, figure 12 minutes at boiling per pound, with one quart of water per pound and one tablespoon of salt if not using seawater. But don’t count on it. Pull one of the antennae: if it comes out easily, lobster’s done. If not, keep boiling and steaming. Everyone from Newfoundland to Maine seems to have a secret additive: Add salt, add sugar, add whatever comes to mind, I guess.

Tools for the lobster feast. Photo by Debi Lander.
Let the cooked lobster cool a bit.
Ryan dries off the lobster as it cools. Photo by Debi Lander.
 Twist or cut off then crack the claws with a nutcracker.

Ryan shows off his cracking skills. Photo by Debi Lander.
Take the walkers off. Toss the body. Take the tail in hand, stretch and squeeze it then twist the meat out. Don't forget the sweet meat inside the tail fan. Enjoy.
Now it's our turn to work. Photo by Debi Lander.
Lobster shells are good for compost and for keeping slugs out of the garden. Dry them in the sun and crush first.  The golf balls used for driving practice on cruise ships are made from lobster shells. You only get 70 percent as much distance but they are biodegradable and isn't that a fitting circle of life?

Debi salutes her lobster with a glass of good Grand Pre, L'Acadie Blanc. Photo by Judy Wells.
Don’t feel badly about depleting the lobster population. Clawed lobsters, the kind you find in cold water, are increasing in number thanks to stringent harvesting regulations in both Canada and the U.S.

Those humongous 10 or more pounders? Not good eating. Too old, too tough. The smaller 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 pounders are for best for eating.

Excuse me now, please. Need to check the boiling lobster pot.

1 comment:

  1. Such a great northeast tradition! Delicious! I didn't know lobster shells were used for mulch?