Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Lobster on plate courtesy of Bo Zaunders
Spring is here… now is the time to eat lobster!
I love lobsters. Boiled, not baked. Through the years I have accumulated pots and implements that I use to cook and eat lobster.
European silverware manufacturers, for example, have developed such specialty items as lobster forks and shell crackers; Christofle, the French creator of my silverware, has the fourchette à homard as part of their sets and I have purchased a few of them.
My local supermarket puts mostly Canadian lobsters on sale every spring so I get 2 to 3 pounders, which for me is the absolute right size to boil. I’ve had steamed 5 lb. lobsters during some of my trips to Boston and Maine, but I think the meat of this size can be a bit tough and just not sweet enough. I also don’t purchase the 1 to 1 ¼ pounders as they are more shell than meat; I dislike throwing money away.
I have a large, Dansk, 16-quart, 18-10 stainless steel pot that gets filled with water, preferably seawater or 50/50 seawatter and fresh watter -- a few years back I discovered at the Summer Fancy Food Show an importer that brings purified Mediterranean seawater from Spain and I order gallons of that -- or I get a couple gallons when I get to the seashore. I also add 3 or 4 bottles of Porter or Stout beer; the Porter adds exceptional sweetness to the lobster meat. There should be enough liquid to fully cover the lobster.
When the liquid gets to a rolling boil, the lobster is immersed, head first.
Depending on the lobster’s size, it gets boiled for 15 to 18 minutes. Not more, as the longer cooking will toughen the meat, or less as it will leave the center of the lobster tail or the eggs (if any) only partially cooked.
I don’t use melted butter - there is no reason to gild the lily! Half-of-a-lemon provides enough juice to brighten the lobster meat.
As accompaniment, we make potato salad. We boil Eastern potatoes and smash them; we then mix in celery seed, sea salt, some defrosted young peas, finely chopped dilled pickle, finely chopped red onion and a mixture of ½ mayonnaise and ½ strained yoghurt; sometimes we add fresh dill or fresh chopped cilantro, depending on who's cooking at the time.
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