Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lobsters, Lobsters Everywhere!

Did you know that lobster prices have gone down 25% since last year? Neither did I! Then my friend, JW, visited the office the other day and told me she has been eating nothing but lobster for weeks because it's so cheap. A quick google search revealed that not only was she right, but that I was way late to the lobster party!

Back in September, the New York Times covered the falling lobster prices. They explained that this has happened because lobster is a luxury item and in times of financial duress (ie. major world wide financial crisis) people just don't eat lobster. They also mentioned that "lobster fishermen are hauling in larger catches than ever" which means we have tons of lobster that need eating!

JR is completely and totally responsible for introducing me to lobster. I hadn't cracked a lobster shell until July 4th, 2004 when I spent my first weekend away with JR's whole family. The weekend before, he and I were hanging out in Ashford, and I mentioned I had never eaten lobster before. JR took this as permission to call his parents (who I had met MAYBE 4 times) and say "Karen wants lobster for the 4th of July, can we have it?" I was horrified!

I learned later that lobster on the 4th was a tradition and this wasn't really a big deal, but boy was I mad at him! In any case, over the course of the last few years I have watched numerous lobster dinners come together in New Hampshire. Occasionally, if we are lucky, JR's dad makes his famous baked stuffed lobster, but for the most part we have straight up steamed lobster which is nothing to cry about.

Seeing all these amazing dinners come together gave me the confidence to make a lobster dinner while on our honeymoon last summer. You know what? It really wasn't that big of a deal, it's a lot easier than I expected. So if you have been intimidated by the price of lobster in the past, now is the time to give it shot, because it's cheap!

Baked stuffed lobster is a beast all on it's own, if you are a first time lobster cooker, I recommend just steaming it. The first step to making lobster is making friends with your lobsters. They are really amazing creatures, so when you get home from buying them at the store, make sure you take some time to play with them and take photos of them. Then put them in the fridge until you are ready to start cooking.

When it's time to begin, get the biggest pot you can and a steamer basket. We are lucky because JR's parents actually have a lobster pot, but I am sure any very large pot will do. Add some water to the bottom and bring it to a boil and then place the lobsters in the steamer and lower them into the pot and cover it up. They don't scream or do anything horrible, they just take a nice steam bath. (I say that, but it's NEVER my job to put them in the pot.)

After about 15 minutes, peak in. You know they are done when they turn BRIGHT red. If you can believe it, when they are alive they are kind of a dull dark red, but when cooked they are almost fluorescent. Then comes the part where we are never sure exactly what to do. You have to cut them open. So get the biggest knife you have, and cut them straight down the belly.

I choose to clean out any gunk that is still in there, but some (like my uncle, MD) swear that is the best part. All that left is to grab some lobster (or nut) crackers and start breaking out that meat. Don't forget a plate for all the broken shells and some butter to dip the meat in, then go to town and enjoy!

Bottom line, lobsters are cheap right now. If you have stayed away because you are scared of them or think they are to expense, you don't have any excuses. Go out an get a couple of these beauties and give them a shot!

1 comment:

JWu said...

Haha... I'm TOTALLY every crustacean's worst nightmare :-)