Quick Recipes and Easy

Lobsters: Enjoy the Feast

Several weeks ago, a seafood restaurant imported Australian lobster; the taste was tasty. I assumed, they had the lobsters frozen to be sent here, but then I found out they might not have. Since the lobsters taste better fresh, they are shipped in carefully refrigerated trucks, alive.

That is why, inside a seafood store or restaurant, I try to avert my eyes as the lobsters climb on each other, overflowing the tank. I’m worried to look a live lobster in the face out of guilt. On the other hand, it may be far more merciful to grant an escape to the animal rather than have it spend another night inside the tank.

Within a few miles to where we live, in Jensen Beach-Florida, there’s a quality seafood restaurant with a seafood store near it, called New England Clam, Fish and Chowder. I delight in the food there and they bring in their lobsters mostly from Maine or off the coasts of the Caribbean.

Lobster cooked in any form is appetizing: lobster bisque, lobster rolls, lobster in a basket with drawn butter, spicy shrimp and lobster linguine, lobster cocktail, lobster chowder, baked stuffed lobster, crêpes filled with lobster Newburg, lobster curry, lobster creole. Did I leave anything? Probably, but it doesn’t matter. A right lobster lover can boil the lobster and eat it with crackers. I like any seafood with lots of lemon juice and no butter. In most restaurants, but, they bring a tiny slice of lemon, lots of drawn butter, plus other sauces.

There must be a painter hiding inside a lobster because it turns crimson when cooked. A live lobster is greenish-brown for it has many different color pigments. When the lobster is cooked, all the pigments are masked except for the background red pigment.

A friend, who goes diving for lobsters off the coast of the Palm Beaches and sometimes the Florida Keys, taught me a few things. She says all lobsters caught in the east coast of USA are called Maine lobsters. They are also sold as two kinds, hard shell and soft shell.

When a lobster outgrows its shell, it molts and discards or “sheds” the ancient shell; now, it has a soft shell and it’s called a “shedder.” As the lobster feeds, its shell hardens, and it adds meat to its body. Soft-shell lobsters have less meat than hard-shell lobsters, but their shells also weigh less. Since lobsters are bought according to their weight, hard-shells and soft-shells end up costing about the same.

Hard-shell lobsters usually survive longer in the refrigerator than the ones that have soft shells. I couldn’t believe it when my friend said that “still living” lobsters could be stored in the refrigerator. Some people prefer soft-shell lobsters because they say the meat is a small sweeter and they don’t need any tools to crack them apart. Hard shell lobsters have firmer meat.

The well loved white meat of the lobster is inside the tail, claws, knuckles and parts of the body and legs. The greenish soft matter at the joint of the lobster’s body and tail is “tomalley”, which is the lobster’s liver with a very different taste. Some people consider this a delicacy; many won’t touch this part. The red material in the tail is the roe or the eggs. This too is a delicacy.

To eat a lobster, some people place on the bib. Really, eating a lobster is no messier than eating any other food, but wearing the bib has become the flair of lobster-eating. With or without the bib, a excellent restaurant will supply its diners with a tiny seafood fork, knife, pliers, nutcracker or hammer, and a pile of paper napkins. If it hasn’t, don’t hesitate to question for them.

After clearing some space on your plate for the lobster-eating ceremony, twist off and crack the claws. This is worth the effort because claw-meat is very tasty. Then, separate the tail from the body by arching the back until it cracks. Bend the tail flippers backwards and break them off. Then delight in the meat in each flipper.

Next, with the tiny fork, take the tail meat out, getting rid of the black vein that runs through the length of the tail meat. Afterwards, open the shell of the body from the underside. Push away the greenish liver substance. When you crack the underside of the body in the middle, you’ll see the meat in four sections or joints. To these joints, small legs are attached that contain meat, and they can be removed by biting down on the leg and squeezing the meat out.

Fresh lobster can be stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. You can also refrigerate the cooked meat for two to three days or keep it in the freezer for several months.

Joy Cagil is an author on a site for Writing.Com/ Creative Writing ( Writing.Com/ Writing.Com/)
Her training is in foreign languages and linguistics. She likes food and her culinary skills are self-taught. Her portfolio can be found at Writing.Com/authors/joycag Writing.Com/authors/joycag

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