Lobster—how the cockroach of the ocean became a delicacy
It’s hard to believe, but not all that long ago lobster was food fit not for the wealthy but for those with hardly a nickel to spare. Back when New England was but a mere colony, lobster would wash up on the shore in droves causing some to consider it trash food. And it was so abundant that people turned their noses up at it and used it to feed their servants—not their dinner party guests. In his 1876 book, “The Emigrant and Sportsman in Canada: Some Experiences of An Old Country Settler,” John J. Rowan wrote that “… lobster shells about a house are looked upon as signs of poverty and degradation.”
Years later, although some Americans were starting to actually like the taste of lobster, it still wasn’t a delicacy by any means—in fact, it was one of the few proteins not rationed during WWII, if you can believe that. So why the change? There’re many things that contributed to the rise of the “ocean cockroach” one being, as simple as it may sound, learning to cook the meat properly—which, as it turns out, is pretty easy.
Maine lobster season is year-round
A lot of people are squeamish about cooking whole lobster at home—hey, I get it. I’ve only done it once and admittedly, I made my husband do the dropping into the pot while I sipped wine on the back porch. But nonetheless, lobster is delicious and given the opportunity have it at home (for a much lower price than you’ll get in restaurants) I’ll take it.
But before you head down the live lobster path, try your hand at cooking cold-water tails first. Easy peasy! Here’s how:
How to Cook Cold-water Lobster Tails
Maine lobster tails 8-10 ounces each (this is a pretty typical size)
Salt 2-3 Tbs for the water
Big stock pot, preferably one like I show here; with a detachable strainer
Fill pot with 2-3 inches of water; make sure lobster tails won’t be submerged. Salt water, bring to boil. Drop tails in, cover and let steam on high for 8-10 minutes. No more, no less. You do not want to overcook your lobster! Note, if you’re lucky enough to have a 20-ounce tail, steam for 12-13 minutes tops.
Remove with tongs and place on butcher paper of something similar. Carefully, pick up the tail and use sharp kitchen sheers to cut along the backside of the tail to allow the meat to separate. Serve with clarified butter for dipping: melt butter in microwave so it separates. Spoon the white film off the top. The remaining gold liquid is your clarified butter. Dish up and enjoy.
DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox
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Coming up next week on the blog … a guide to sustainable sushi with help from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch