Archive for the ‘Crustaceans’ Category
It’s no secret I was a little disappointed with the the Great Lobster Bake of ‘09, but it was still a day spent sitting outside with friends, drinking Pimms and beers, and cracking open fresh seafood, so I have no right to complain. In fact, despite the cooking frustrations, looking at the foot tall pile of emptied shells and carcases I realized that there was still one more thing I could try my hand at making: lobster stock!
As excited as I get about making a proper dish or trying a new technique, lately I’ve really been getting amped up when given an opportunity to make a cooking staple from scratch that I can save andreuse as I see fit. And given how much stock I was able to make with the already cooked shells, I can’t recommend enough how fantastic it is take advantage of crafting up this wonderfully deceadant treat.
“The best-laid plans of mice and men / Go oft awry” – Robert Burns
As an amateur homecook there are certain levels of failure I’ve come to expect. I know that I’m going to butcher a fish filet here and there. I know any time I say we’re eating at 8pm, we’re probably not eating until 11. I know some flavor or texture is going to be missing which will compromise the intended design of a dish I’ve researched. I get that, it’s to be expected and my friends are well aware these shortcomings are part letting me take over a kitchen. God knows why they still let me take the reigns.
But one thing I have learned many times over, is to never, EVER trust an internet recipe. And yes, I’m well aware of the irony of a food blogger making that statement. Be skeptical. Trust no one. Don’t even trust me. And when you do drop your guard to see if someone can actually give you usable instructions, try it on yourself or a small group with cheap ingredients.
So when Sparkles and I decided we should rally our gang together for a good ol’ New England Lobster Fest, I don’t know what the hell I was thinking by ignoring my own advice. I figured doing a lobster bake would be interesting, fun and easier than individually boiling 8 lobsters. Fool that I am.
If you do want to steam a lobster(s) you need a lot of steam and pressure so that they will cook quickly and all the way through. Julia Child recommends putting a weight on the pot lid to pressure cook the lobster even faster. This is not a job for mild, half ass heat. If you’re still worried you may not have the right equipment just use the biggest pot you have, bring the water to a furious boil and add your lobsters (a couple at a time) head first to the water for 10-12 minutes depending on their size. Remove and cool.
The classic lobster bake, while frustrating, is still one of those indulgent events that does not fade quickly from memory. It’s an event that when done well is simply what I live for. When done poorly, it’s still an afternoon of friends, drinks and all the lobster you can eat. Tread delicately, but tread. What follows is a cautionary tail.