Originally posted on July 12, 2007
Lobster is hard. I am not talking about their hard shells. It's such a bitch to cook, yet there's never enough meat in each lobster. Think about it: you buy one for $12.99 a pound so each lobster is about $20, but you can only eat less than 40% of it, unless you are my mother (or many Japanese) who will happily eat the guts. Everything else is green guts and shells. No wonder lobster tails cost more than the whole thing, because the labor is so very intensive.
Having said that, it was a special occasion, and I decided to make lobster salad. I went to Lobster House in Chelsea Market, spent $75 for 3 live lobsters. There are three ways to cook (or kill) lobsters. 1. boil, 2. steam, and 3. Cleaver it. By the way, boiling lobster is banned in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region according to an article on WSJ the other day. The article also mentioned that Chicago has banned serving foie gras. Some humane people are concerned about fish/meat health I guess... I am not going to get into this.
Since I don't have a cleaver, nor steamer, I decided to take the old school way of boiling. Man it was scary. As you see below, the biggest pot I have is not big enough to even fit one lobster, let alone three of them. I first froze these guys so they are not as active. Once the water boiled, I took one out, tried to sink it in the boiling water. I made the huge mistake of putting the claws in first, which apparently has the most nerves in their body... Poor thing started to go nuts, and I started screaming at it, "Fuck you, get the fuck in there you motherfucker!" I think was the exact quote. My heart was pounding from adrenalin and it was a damn scary thing to do. I shoved the whole thing in, closed the lid tightly, and 8 minutes later, a nicely red faced boiled lobster was done.
I had to repeat the process, including the screaming twice more...
Once they are cooled, here comes the painstaking process of pulling the meat out of the shells. The tail is actually easy. You take the tail off of the head, press the shells, and you can take the tail meat easily out of the shell. The hard part is the claw. Again, I don't have a meat pounder, nor a hammer (gay people don't have DIY items at home). I used the back of a knife and tried to crack the damn thing, and tried yanking the meat out of claws. After a couple more screamings, almost chopping my finger off, and lobster juice flying all over the kitchen, I was done shelling the meat.
It was pure disappointment. Out of more than 5 lb lobsters, all I had were three tail meats, and 6 claws, that's about it. It was too painful to go into parts next to the claws after 20 minutes of agony.
My initial idea was to have a bed of green, and lobster and avocado, but needed to come up with more items in the salad so that it's filling enough. So I boiled some fingering potatoes and green beans. I marinated potatoes in vinegar/mayo/mustard/olive oil mixture to give a little kick, and made enough extra to pour over lobsters. Nicely arranged it and it ended up being a very nice meal.
Lesson learned... Rather than buying lobsters, buy nice sized shrimp, and it's a lot easier to cook, and i think it tastes better, and definitely cheaper too. Presentation wise, yes, the lobster head looks awesome, but I think lobster meat is a bit bland compare to shrimp.
Speaking of shrimp, I once made jumbo shrimp stuffed with lump crab meat, wrapped with bacon in cream pesto sauce for a Jewish girl.. I DIDN'T KNOW!!! -R