When you think lobster, you probably think Maine, but not everyone has a Maine vacation planned any time soon. Thankfully, a taste of the New England coast is pretty accessible these days — just take a trip to your local fishmonger.
Here in New York, we’re lucky to have one of the country’s best seafood markets. Its name, not coincidentally, is The Lobster Place. They know their way around claws and tails: In a typical week, they steam 7,000 live lobsters and use 400 pounds of meat to make lobster rolls at their retail market and its adjoining restaurant. Brendan Hayes, the Lobster Place Seafood Market’s President of Retail & Restaurant, recently offered up some of his top lobster-cooking knowledge. So read this, pick up a lobster or two and make your next staycation so much tastier.
What’s the best to cook lobster?
One of the great things about lobster is that you can use almost any cooking method, and it’s pretty difficult to screw up. For me, it goes back to my childhood and the way our family cooked lobsters in the summer. I was raised a boiler and continue to boil lobsters today. I find that by completely submerging the whole lobsters in a bath of salted boiling water, the meat cooks more evenly and you’re also able to get a slight saltwater brine in the flavor.
Any other key secrets?
Most seafood markets selling lobsters should have rockweed (or kelp) available for customers. It’s a seaweed that’s native to North America and is traditionally used in clam bakes or lobster bakes. When boiling or steaming lobsters, take a handful of rockweed and throw it into the pot. Not only does it have an amazing saltwater aroma when cooked, but it also adds a nice fresh ocean flavor.
What’s your favorite recipe?
There are few things tastier than a split-grilled lobster. The trick to this method is to first par-steam the lobster. Fill a large pot with 1 to 2 inches of water and bring it to a boil. Add the lobsters and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the lobsters to steam for approximately 5 minutes, so the meat cooks to a medium-rare. Pull the lobsters from the pot and allow them to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, lay the lobster on its back and split it down the middle. Crack each of the claws with the backside of a chef’s knife (trying to leave them intact on the body if possible).
Preheat your grill to medium. While the grill is heating, melt 12 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add one teaspoon of lemon zest, juice from a whole lemon, a tablespoon of chopped tarragon, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once melted, brush the interior of the lobster with the lemon-tarragon butter and then lay each half meat-side-down on the grill. Cook for two minutes, until the meat is slightly charred and then turn over. Baste the lobster again with the lemon-tarragon butter and finish grilling until the meat is completely opaque and cooked through (another 1 to 2 minutes). Remove from the grill and dig in.
Want to become more of a lobster pro? Check out out the Maine Lobster website for purchasing, storing, and cooking tips. For example, did you know that lobster has less calories, less total fat, and less cholesterol than roasted skinless chicken breast? And, believe it or not, you can freeze it.
Of course, if you’re lucky enough that summer travel plans do include a trip to Maine, they have a great chart of where to stop for a crustacean fix. Depending on when you’re there, you can also try to get your hands on some new-shell lobsters. Like crabs, lobsters molt and lose their hard shell several times as they grow. They don’t travel well, but new-shell lobsters are said to be a bit sweeter, and are easier to crack.
Originally from Good Housekeeping