So . . . long time, no see. We have no good excuses. But we’re back! And we took on a challenge when we went on vacation to Maine: lobster. Now, most people would be like, “Lobster? That’s not hard!” But they would be wrong! Because do you know what you do to the lobster before you eat it? You KILL it. How many other foods do you eat that require you to kill them directly beforehand? None, that I can think of. (Unless you count picking fruits or vegetables as killing them, which I do not.) [Also, lobsters can fight back! Have you seen the legs and claws and antennae on those things? They are freaky! – T]
Anyway. I was afraid of the lobster killing part. In fact, once when I was up in Maine my friend and I decided we wanted to make our own lobsters. We bought some from the lobstermen down at the dock* and took them back to my grandparents’ to make in their Official Lobster Cooking Pot. Only, the lobsters were all squirmy and clicky in their little plastic bag. At the crucial moment—when I tried to throw one in the pot and it twisted around trying to get away—I chickened out and made my grandmother do it. True story. [You might have just hammed us. – T] And their little antennae stuck out from under the lid, twitching pathetically, until they were all done BOILING TO DEATH.
Well, that was then and this is now. This blog dictates that I must challenge myself. Which is why I found myself (OK, I made my husband do it) buying five lobsters for $40 one night when Abi’s parents visited.
Once, when we were in Maine staying with my dad (I think it was one of our epic family reunions), my dad decided to get lobsters for all of us. It was a really nice gesture, which ended up costing him almost $100. I guess lobster was more expensive then? And, after boiling them as usual, the shells were SO INSANELY hard that my step-brother actually took a hammer to his and still had a hard time getting the meat out. So when they asked at the co-op if we wanted hard-shell or soft-shell lobster, we went with soft-shell. Lesson learned.
As Turk mentioned, we ate pretty well while we were in Maine thanks to Chef Riley. (And drank well thanks to Sommelier Abi.) We made some pretty awesome quesadillas one night, and an epic batch of macaroni and cheese another. (It entailed whole wheat macaroni—for the health factor, obviously—and a sauce made with four cheeses, beer, and bacon; topped with panko and, randomly, some chopped leftover onion rings.) [Even our left-overs were good – lobster and goat cheese omelet? Steak and brie omelet? Don’t mind if I do! – T]
For this dinner, in addition to the lobster, we made a salad, roasted potatoes, and Riley grilled vegetables and steaks. Although that wasn’t without incident either:
But of course, the lobster was the Maine attraction (I just now realized I typed that pun) [Dork! – T]. After fortifying ourselves with many Honey Badgers and Fox Island Iced Teas™ (more on that—and our much improved Honey Badger variation—in another post), we decided we were ready to go.
Cooking lobsters really isn’t that hard once you get past the killing part. You boil water in a big pot (we did not have the sanctioned Official Lobster Cooking Pot but made do) and then throw them in. Then you put the top on and cook the lobsters until they’re done, about 15 minutes. According to the internet, some people go fancy with the water and put in herbs and aromatics and whatnot. We did not. [This time. I feel like this was lobster 101, and that is higher-level lobster cooking for another event. – T]
And yes, I’m aware of the supposedly more “humane” method where you stab the lobsters in the back of the neck before boiling, but that still seemed barbaric. This a more passive form of murder. [Although ours were out of water long enough and one of them had stopped moving, so I feel like it may have suffocated … - T]
And then, we ate. And drank. If you’ve never eaten a whole lobster before, it can be a little tricky. You have to use metal “crackers” to crack open the shells and pull out the best meat (claw, elbow, tail: yum). And you can serve it in a few different ways—cold on a salad, with mayo on a lobster roll, in a bisque—but we went classic-style and served them with drawn butter.
And they were delicious.
* I use the term "bought" loosely. We went to the dock and said we'd like to buy some lobsters. The lobsterman asked what size, and I said "Uh . . . medium?" Which he thought was funny, and he gave us the lobsters for FREE. It didn't hurt that we were cute. Sadly that didn't happen this time.