Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lobster

Or how it should be pronounced 'lawbstah'. We had our hit of lobster on our trip back East earlier this month at a friend's house in Boston. As much as I love Dungeness crab here in San Francisco, I still miss getting lobster back there. As a result, now that we've been back a couple of weeks, I thought we should check out the Ranch 99 market in Richmond a few days ago to see what they had in the tanks. Lo and behold lobsters coming out the ying-yang so we asked for a couple.
The lobsters we had in Boston were about 1.5 lbs each, so we shared 5 of them among 5 people which turned out to be just the right amount. However when the fishmonger brought out the ones he'd picked from the tank at Ranch, they were HUGE, about 3.5 pounds each. So we asked him to put one back and we'd just take one, thanks.
When we got home, we put the fella in the frig and pulled him out about 20 minutes before we were ready to sit down for dinner. Again this thing was ginormous! Instead of trying to tackle him (and it was a him to be sure - I could tell from the hard feathers underneath the tail) into the stockpot of boiling water, I decided to do something I'd never done but always wanted to check out. I pierced him in the head with a sharp chef's knife to kill him instantly. Since I'd seen it done a few times, I knew the technique - to point the knife blade down vertically at 90 degrees just behind the eyes and plunge it in one quick motion all the way through. The body twitched afterwards but was easy to put into the pot at that point.
It's been a while since I cooked lobster so had forgotten how damn hard the claws can get when the beast gets that big. When the thing was cooked (I used the method of 7 minutes for the first pound, 3 for each one above that - 18 minutes in all) I took it out and put it into a bowl with cold water to halt the cooking. I then separated out the claws and tail. The claws were so hard I had to bring them outside and pound them with a mallet. We finally got through and were able to finish the meat between us. I was a bit concerned that being so big, the lobster would not be as tasty but no problem there. We served it with drawn butter and had steamed cauliflower and roasted potatoes to go with it. Afterwards I crushed the shells and made a broth to store for later.
I'm going to start looking into trying different recipes and certainly smaller sizes. Tokyo Fish in Berkeley will get it in on demand with a day or two notice so I think I'll try that for the next adventure.
I'm thinking lobster bisque or lobster rolls next. I'll blog about it with photos once I do.