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Lobster Killer, Lobster Killer, Lobster Killer

October 8, 2011

Lawrence covers the lobster cooking scene in Julie and Julia pretty well so I won’t rehash that here. He ends by saying that he doesn’t think that cooking a lobster is really that hard and maybe he will do that some day. Not sure if he ever did. I can’t find any reference to it on his blog and if he is anything like I was in college there is no way he is going to be running out and buying lobster.

Larry, if you are by some chance reading this let me tell you, cooking lobster isn’t hard at all. You part with your shiny gold rocks at the lobster store and they give you live wriggling lobsters. You take them home and put them head first into a pot of boiling water. I have no idea why head first, but every recipe I found on the Internets said head first. Wait 9-ish minutes or so and Voila! cooked lobster. The problem is the stakes involved.  If you mess up a batch of poached eggs you just throw them away and start again.  If you mess up boiling a car payment’s worth of lobster there is nothing to do but cry.

Of course I only think boiling a lobster is easy now that it is done. It is something I have never done before today and I was really worried about that car payment. Mitch’s recipe says to kill the lobster prior to boiling by piercing the head with a knife. Lucky for me there is a quick scene of Julia Child doing exactly that in the movie and I’ve seen it four times now. I knew exactly how it should work. I put the lobster on the cutting board, pierced its head with a satisfying crustaceanary crunch, and…it didn’t die. Or at the very least it didn’t stop moving. The reason Mitch has you kill the lobster prior to boiling is so that you can extract the lobster roe (Did I forget to mention I had to purchase all female lobsters?). I bravely plunged ahead and tried to cut an incision into the still wriggling Mrs. Lobster and find the roe. I did not succeed. I thought I had done enough research of lobster anatomy to find the lobster roe, but after my third cut I decided that either it was a boy lobster or I just didn’t know what I was looking for. Things were not going well.

After I took a deep breath and poured myself a glass of wine I decided that cooked lobster roe would be easier to extract and should work for the Risotto. I plunged the lobster head first into the pot of boiling water and when I pulled her out she was bright and red and I found the roe immediately and set it aside to include in the final dish.

In addition to the whole roe fiasco I think I may have found another discrepancy in the cookbook. Mitch says to cook four lobsters in a gallon of salt water. A gallon of water won’t even cover a single lobster, which I know because the pots I borrowed would only hold a single lobster. I had two lobsters cooking at a time in two pots, which worked pretty well because while one pair was cooking it gave me time to dismember the previous pair. When I was done with all six I had huge piles of shells and I could start making the broth.

I was calm now, back in familiar territory. The recipe for the broth and the risotto both made sense to me. There was nothing new to figure out and I just had to add the right ingredients at the right time. To make the broth you sauté the shells in butter and then boil them in chicken broth and wine until about a third of the liquid is gone. As the rich smell of the broth started to fill the house I stopped dreading this meal and started anticipating. While the broth bubbled I prepped all the ingredients I would need for the risotto. By the time I started cooking the rice I had read the recipe about 17 times and was able to cook on auto pilot as our guests began to arrive. It took about 41 minutes for the rice to absorb all the broth and then I mixed in everything else: lobster meat, lobster roe, peas, chives, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. After all of my worrying and dreading it was delicious.

Alright, it was more than delicious. With my first bite I got a slightly tough piece of lobster meat and I was worried that I had overcooked the whole batch. Not so. I tasted the lobster claws on top (drenched in melted butter). They were perfectly done and I kept eating the risotto. With each bite I decided I liked it more. The rice had absorbed the lobster flavor, but it wasn’t a hit you over your head lobster flavor. It was subtle and complex. (And delicious.) Yum.

Recipe #145: Lobster

Recipe #146: Lobster Broth

Recipe #147: Lobster Risotto with Roe and Fresh Peas

Julie and Julia Quote of the Day: I think you should do the pay pal thing. That way we can have more lobster.

Damn Good Food Quote of the Day: These recipes are very involved, far more than what I’m making in the restaurant today.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2011 12:10 pm

    Loved the Mike/Julie pictures!

  2. October 9, 2011 7:37 am

    Interesting.My family has a crawfish but we can’t eat it.

Trackbacks

  1. An NYC Restaurant Almost Cooked This "1-In-30-Million" Lobster - Secretnyc

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