I never liked lobster as a child. To be fair I never tried lobster as a child, but in my defence I had sound reasons. The mere thought of pulling limbs from a prehistoric-looking creature with seemingly endless jagged parts held little appeal, and eating the creepy thing was simply out of the question.
London - Oct. 11, 2011 - I never liked lobster as a child. To be fair I never tried lobster as a child, but in my defence I had sound reasons. The mere thought of pulling limbs from a prehistoric-looking creature with seemingly endless jagged parts held little appeal, and eating the creepy thing was simply out of the question.
But one day something changed, and for that I am eternally grateful.
On a trip to Florida with my family as a young teen, I witnessed a room full of people joyfully picking away at the red shells, oblivious to the melted butter dripping from their fingers as they chatted with their dinner companions. I nervously scanned the room. It can’t be that bad, can it?
My parents placed their order and turned in my direction. Before I could change my mind I found myself saying, "I'll have the lobster, please."
My mother's eyes grew wide, and her jaw slackened. "You want the lobster?" Ultimately, mom was pleased with my decision to try something new, and I was bound and determined to go through with it.
PHOTO CREDIT - Dennis Siren
The anticipation grew as the butter bowls arrived, each seated over its own flame. My heart was racing faster than the night before prom as our server approached the table with the large, red crustaceans. A lobster was placed before me, and I stared at it with my hands fisted in my lap. It was now or never.
Wrangling with the cracker without a shred of grace, I started on the claws. To the young me, they were the scariest part of all. Go big or go home, right? When I finally freed a sizeable chunk, I dipped it into the butter, slipped it past my lips, and closed my eyes for a moment. Wow. The sweet, tender flesh, the warm, salty butter; I was instantly converted, and the experience left me wondering why I was so reluctant to try it in the first place.
Humans tend to fear the unknown, even with simple things like trying different foods. Sometimes you just have to step off the cliff of your comfort zone to find new and lasting pleasures in life.
Fast forward to 2011, and here I am traveling home from a business trip to Halifax. Those Nova Scotians know how to do things right, I assure you. They have a tank of fresh lobsters in the airport departure zone, which are ready to be packed in wax-lined cardboard boxes serving as carry-on luggage. What genius.
So what will I do with them apart from share them with close friends back home? Not much. You see, the simplest preparations are sometimes the best. Such is the case with lobster - butter is all you need.
I am blessed to have experienced sublime lobster risotto, lobster poutine by Chuck Hughes, Julia Child’s Lobster Thermidor and endless other preparations, but there is something special about plain, fresh lobster dipped in butter that makes me smile.
Should you have an opportunity to acquire live lobster, here is the simplest preparation below. It involves a bit of what I call “lobster yoga” that our shellfish friends will surely appreciate.
Tip: Serve the freshly cooked lobster with melted butter - clarified is best. We also served ours with fresh coleslaw and a bottle of Tawse 2010 Quarry Road Riesling.
Preparing Live Lobster
These instructions were taken directly from the box in which the lobsters came, and they can also be found on the company’s website: www.clearwater.ca. One step that I prefer to implement is omitted below. I call it a yoga move, but essentially there is a procedure used to put the lobster to sleep immediately before it is cooked. To illustrate, please view this YouTube video:
1. Bring at least 2 litres per pound of lobster to a rolling boil in a very large pot.
2. Add in 2 tablespoons of sea salt per litre of water.
3. Carefully drop in the lobsters, one at a time, headfirst into the water.
4. Return the water to a boil, and then start timing: 1 lb. = 12-15 min; 1.5 lbs. = 15-20 min; 2-3 lbs. = 20-25 min.
Note: determining fully cooked lobsters:
1. Lobsters will turn their characteristic bright red colour well before the meat is thoroughly cooked inside.
2. Tug on an antennae or pull off one of the small walking legs. They both will come off easily when the lobster is done.
3. The meat inside will be firm, white and opaque.
4. The tomalley, which fills much of the body cavity, will be green.
5. The roe in female lobsters will be bright red and firm. If it is a dark greenish black, with an oily tar-like consistency, the lobster is undercooked.
6. The internal temperature will be 180F (80C).
7. If the lobsters will not be eaten right away, they must be cooled quickly in ice water. Drain the chilled lobsters, cover and keep refrigerated. You can keep cooked lobsters in your refrigerator for 1 or 2 days.
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