Monday, October 3, 2011


     LOBSTERS ARE BOTTOM FEEDERS. Nonetheless, many people consider them one of the finer -- if not the finestkind -- of culinary delights that foodies crave. According to the Maine Lobster Council the majority of Maine lobsters are caught between late June and late December, with the season's largest harvest produced in the fall. Let's face it, when we think of lobster, we think: Maine.

     ROCK LOBSTER found off Africa's shores, in the Caribbean and elsewhere can be fresh or frozen and procured for the desperate; but it can never compare to the sweet yet tangy and sea-full flavor of a fresh-boiled Maine lobster that has crawled its entire life on the ocean's floor from the Bay of Fundy in the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine, all the way south to Bean Town and Cape Cod. We're talking about "north-Atlantic-succulence-squared."

     WOODEN PEGS were inserted in former times to lock the claw from causing any harm; but now, rubber bands do the trick. Hold those lobster facing outward so the claws won't nip you; take scissors to clip and discard those rubber bands just before you place them in your cooking pot. Rubber bands will impart an unpleasant chemical flavor to the boiled, poached or steamed lobster meat.

     YOUR LOBSTER POT should be at a full rolling boil before you add the lobsters to the pot. Make sure to cover tight. Some people use sea-water, some use part fresh and part sea-water, while others use only fresh water. We've seen cooks add a little seaweed and corn on the cob to the pot. It all depends on where you live and what you can concoct. It's all good. Boil the lobsters [locally called 'bugs'] until they're a lobster-red color. Timing will depend on how many bugs you squeeze in the pot. Why not STEAM lobsters? Our favorite is to fill the pot with only two or three cups of boiling-steaming water; then insert the bugs; cover the pot and let them steam until the shell is red and the meat is just delicately poached. We use my bride's canning kettle for cooking lobsters.

     FOR YOU JULIA CHILD TYPES who cut into a living lobster, dig out the pulsating flesh, then pop those pieces into a sizzling fry pan while adding expensive wines, all I can say is PETA will be offended and may picket your front door. Or if you're looking for complicated lobster quiches, pies, enchiladas, tortes, and lasagna... go to your fancy cookbooks; here in this blog we're talking about the best ways to savor lobster without any interference from over-killing encrustations to the crustacean. Back to the part of lobsters feeling pain: If you're really worried about causing unnecessary pain to lobsters, remember that the brain of a lobster and the brain of a mosquito are absolutely equal in size. Although if you refrigerate your lobsters in the coldest part of your ice box, they'll think it's winter and go into a sort-of dormant state, and won't flip their tails as much when immersed into boiling water. Plunge them headfirst into the pot and they wriggle just a little. Don't eat a lobster after boiling which has a tightly curled tail because that means the lobster was dead before you cooked it. Cooking lobster safely means taking a live, kicking, mosquito-brained, bottom-feeding critter; and plunging it into boiling hot water or steam pot.

     HARD SHELL and SOFT SHELL LOBSTERS have their particular fans. Hard shell lobsters will give you a drier flesh with harder shells to crack open. Soft shells are easier to break into; and I consider their flesh much sweeter and juicier. Although you probably will get more meat from a hardshell than a softshell as softshells have a lot of water in them which is what makes them so very succulent.

     BREAKING INTO A LOBSTER is not such a difficult skill; it really depends on how hungry you are. Don't forget to suck out the fine little-leg strings-of-meat first. Some people swear by the custard texture of the claws or the meaty-chewy texture of the tail as their favorite. My highest rating for taste imparting an unsurpassed seafresh flavor in lobster is to be found in the knuckles located between the body and claws.

     DRAWN BUTTER, PLAIN MELTED BUTTER, and/or LEMON are typically good additives for hot lobster meat; but, why not try the juice from a lime and no butter at all? My preference is always a lime, just fresh-squeezed juice of a lime rather than a lemon or any butter. Some Maine natives eat their lobsters with their favorite brand of potato chips because they maintain that salt from the chips is unbeatable as a natural compliment to lobster meat.

     HOMEMADE MAYO for the culinary gurus among you -- but even store-bought mayo -- can be the perfect binder with cold lobster meat which is then either served on a platter with buttered hot biscuits or English muffins on the side; or cold lobster meat stuffed into a buttered and fried lobster roll. A proper lobster roll may not be available in your neck of the woods; whereas here in Maine, we use lobster rolls which have no-crust-sides which then will absorb the frying butter which turns it into a lightly browned and crispy crust of a roll. If you can't get a proper lobster roll, use a regular hot dog roll; open them wide and place with butter in a fry pan to crisp up the inside surface. Some chefs insist that adding just two to three drips of squeezed onion juice in the mayo before you mix it with the cold lobster meat makes for the secret condiment creating a top-drawer, classic lobster roll.

     YES INDEED, LOBSTERS CAN BE DESTROYED TOO if you overcook them and turn them into a DuPont chewable; or, if you leave the rubber bands on the claws when cooking. Always discard the vein in the tail-meat because it's the gut-canal of the bug. If you are into organ-meat delicacies, you will enjoy the red or orange/red 'coral' or roe [lobster caviar] from female lobsters. You can also eat the green tomalley [digestive liver]; although keep in mind that since the digestive liver is the lobster's filtering system, it has a high molecular count of all materials concentrated within that are presently found in modern sea water.

     LOBSTER IS NOT CHEAP. But then again, if you go to an average restaurant for dinner, it'll cost you plenty too. The best and only place to really enjoy a lobsterfeed is in your home on your own kitchen table where you can crack open, dig out, eat and dip with wild abandon; and not worry about anyone seeing you dripping wet with delicious butter-slopped seafood. Plus, you can add your own chips, corn on the cob, clams, biscuits, lemonade or beer. Although be careful to put the lemonade and drawn butter into totally different colored containers. I know from my own experience once during a lobsterfeed and disastrous thirst-frenzy. Talk about a greasy slide down the throat. At any rate: Pick up some bugs today and create your own homemade lobsterfeed.

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