For many, it may seem that the lobster’s most natural habitat is on a large oval plate between a cup of drawn butter and a lemon wedge. It’s also the consummate “impress me” menu item. You will always find some lobster incarnation on a Valentine’s Day menu, and when on a date to impress. The big corporate-type will always seek out the Surf & Turf – it’s a show of success and power. Order the lobster, it’s always the most expensive item. I even heard that ironically – Lobster is one of the most requested food item for prison inmates.
In fact, Lobsters have not always been considered chic eats. In 17th- and 18th-century America, they were so abundant in the northeast that they were often used as fertilizer. Laws were even passed forbidding people to feed servants lobster more than twice a week. Imagine – servants being limited to eating lobster, wow! However, improvements in transportation infrastructure in the 19th and 20th century brought fresh lobster to distant urban areas, increasing demand as its reputation as a delicacy grew. Eating lobster has become a show of indulgence and good taste.
Only a few of the hundreds of types of lobster are caught commercially. But those few species are some of the most heavily harvested creatures in the sea, and generate a multi-billion-dollar industry, with more than 200,000 tons (181,436 metric tons) of annual global catch.
All I know is that very few things in the culinary world come close to biting into a perfectly prepared, creamy, buttery and delicate lobster tail accentuated simply by a splash of lemon. The fact you can prepare lobster so simply, yet taste something so complex in flavor and texture further pays homage to this delicacy of the seas. Makes you wish you were back in the 17th & 18th centuries; My God, I would have gone to jail almost weekly for exceeding my allotment of 2 a week….
Canadian Atlantic Lobster are truly fascinating creatures. We have listed some interesting facts that you may, or may not know about this charismatic crustacean.
Did you know that…
The largest lobster ever caught was reported to be approximately 44 pounds and up to 65 years old (wow!). Scientists believe that lobsters do not get old and could potentially live indefinitely, since their organs do not degenerate (double wow!).
No pain! The Atlantic Lobster does not feel pain when he immersed into hot water due to its decentralized nervous system (it has no brain, just a series of ganglia).
Steam scream! The Atlantic Lobster does not have any vocal cords and contrary to rumor it does not scream. The sound we hear when boiling lobster is only the steam escaping from the shell.
Right clawed versus left clawed. The lobster has two different type of claws, the crusher claw and the pincer claw. If you examine a lobster, you will find that some have their crusher claw on the right side while others have it on the left.
Hard shelled versus soft shelled. Since the Atlantic Lobster must shed its shell in order to grow, it will display a thinner softer shell after it has molted. In Canada, the lobster season is staggered around the summer moulting period and most
Canadian Atlantic Lobster are harvested hard-shelled.
Moulting is done through out the life of the lobster to enable it to grow. During its first year a lobster will molt as many as 10 times. Lobsters will continue to molt approximately once a year until maturity. Older lobsters may molt only once every two to three years.
It takes a lobster six to eight years to reach a market weight of approximately 1 pound. Lobsters grow quicker in warmer water and can achieve market weights in less time.
Regenerating limbs. Also known as autotomy, lobsters can regenerate appendages lost to predation. This would include their claws, legs, antennules and antennae. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, lobsters will also drop a claw.
Hard-shell Nutrition. While hard-shell lobster meat is considered to be the tastiest, it is also proves to be the most nutritious. Soft-shelled lobsters lose nutrients as part of the moulting process and absorb considerable amounts of water. Hard-shelled Canadian Atlantic Lobster maintains all of its nutrition and provides the healthiest choice for consumers.
The natural colour of a Canadian Atlantic Lobster will vary from blue-green to a rusty brown and can even be found with a blue or white (albino) shell. They will all turn red when cooked (except the white shelled lobster) and will afford the same great taste regardless of shell colour.
Multicoloured innards. Lobster meat is generally a delicate white colour. When eating a lobster several other colours will be encountered. The waxy red colour next to the meat is found in female lobsters and is the roe (eggs). Many consider this to be that lobster caviar. The textured green material is referred to as a tomalley and is a fancy name for the liver. Again, many consider this delectable and a tasty part of the lobster experience. The white foamy substance often encountered is the lobsters’ fat and blood and is also edible.
Cannibalistic? Lobsters were once accused of being cannibalistic to their own species because of lobster shell found in their gut. It is now believed that the shell material was simply discarded shell from moulting. While lobsters may scavenge, it has been shown they prefer fresh food, which includes a fish, crabs, muscles and sea urchins.
Lobster teeth. Lobsters do have teeth, however instead of being found in the mouth they are found in the stomach.
To put a lobster to sleep, simply invert it on to its back for a few minutes. Some prefer to do this before placing lobster in the boiling water before cooking.
Foot Buds? Along with the mouth parts, lobster has taste organs located in the feet.
LOBSTER – Recipes
• 1 daikon (julienned)
• 2 heads blond frisee
• 3 cups lobster meat, cooked, sliced
• 2-1/4 cups mangos, diced
• 1-1/2 cups avocados, diced
• 1 cup cilantro, chopped
• 3/4 tsp. white sesame seed
• 3/4 tsp. black sesame seed
• 2 teaspoons sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
• 1 teaspoon soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds
• 1 teaspoon tahini paste
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• fresh cracked pepper and kosher salt
COMBINE frisee, lobster, mangos, avocados and cilantro in large bowl.
ADD half of the dressing; toss to coat.
FOR each serving: Spoon about 1 cup of the salad into martini glass; drizzle with 1/2 Tbsp. of the remaining dressing. Sprinkle lightly with sesame seed and top with a frisee leaf.
For the Dressing
Whisk together all ingredients except salt and pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, to allow flavors to meld.
Whisk once more before serving.
Lobster Roll w/ Jalapeno Aioli & Avocado Relish
▪ 1 – 1-1/2 pound live lobster (a frozen tail works as well)
▪ 1 lemon, cut into quarters
▪ 1 tablespoon salt
▪ 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
▪ 1 celery stalk, minced
▪ 3 green onions, minced
▪ 1/8 cup mayo
▪ 1/4 fresh lemon, juiced
▪ Salt & Pepper to taste
▪ 4 hot dog buns
▪ 2 avocados (diced)
▪ 1 yellow tomato (diced)
▪ 1 red tomato (diced)
▪ ½ red onion (small dice)
▪ 4 sprigs cilantro (chopped)
▪ 4oz olive oil
▪ 1 lime (juiced & zested)
▪ 1 tsp cumin seed (toasted & ground)
▪ Salt & Pepper to taste
Fill a large stock pot with hot water, add the quartered lemon and bring to a boil over high heat. Plunge the live lobster into the boiling water, cover with a lid, and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until bright red, 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and immediately plunge into a sink full of very cold water. Let set for 2 minutes. Remove from the cold water, set in a colander, and let drain 30 minutes. While the lobster is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Once the lobster has drained remove the shell, and chop the meat into medium size chunks. Remove as much as the white, firm flesh from the body of the lobster as well; don’t waste these sweet morsels. In a medium bowl, gently fold the lobster together with the rest of the ingredients; except the hot dog buns and butter. Put the mixture into the refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chilled. Before serving, butter the buns, and gently toast over a hot grill or a pan grill on the stove. Fill the buns with the lobster mixture – top with avocado relish. Serve. Eat.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and gently toss adding the juice from the lime and zest. Season and let stand 5 minutes. Toss again before topping the lobster rolls. Garnish with sprinkles of lime zest and cilantro leaves.
Simple Lobster Boil
▪ 1 1/2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes
▪ 1 large onion, quartered
▪ 2 heads garlic, halved crosswise (do not peel)
▪ 1/2 cup coarse salt
▪ 4 live lobsters (1 1/4 pounds each)
▪ 4 ears of corn, shucked and halved
▪ Drawn Butter
Fill a lobster pot or other large pot two-thirds full with water. Add potatoes, onion, garlic, and salt. Cover, and bring to a boil.
Uncover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until potatoes begin to soften, 8 to 10 minutes. Add lobsters headfirst. Cover, and cook until shells are bright red, 5 to 6 minutes. Add corn, and cook for 3 minutes more.
Remove potatoes, lobsters, and corn from water; discard onion and garlic. Using kitchen shears, clip tips of lobster claws, and let drain. Serve potatoes, lobsters, and corn with drawn butter.
Grilled Rock Lobster Tails w/ Saffron Butter
• 2 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 4 (10 ounce) rock lobster tails
• 2 pinches saffron threads, pulverized
• 1/4 lb butter
• 1 large shallot, finely diced
• 2 teaspoons basil, finely chopped (or marjoram)
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated (or orange zest)
• 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
• fresh ground black pepper
Preheat grill for high heat.
Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl, and slowly whisk in olive oil. Whisk in salt, paprika, white pepper, and garlic powder. Split lobster tails lengthwise with a large knife, and brush flesh side of tail with marinade.
Lightly oil grill grate. Place tails, flesh side down, on preheated grill. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, and basting frequently with marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Lobster is done when opaque and firm to the touch.
For the Saffron Butter
Cover the saffron threads with 2 teaspoons hot water and let it steep until the color emerges, after a few minutes. Work it into the butter, which has been brought to room temperature, with the remaining ingredients, using a wooden spoon.
Move to a crock or place on wax paper and roll into a cylinder. Freeze until firm. Once frozen, slice into thin disks. Place over top of grilled tails right off the grill. Enjoy!