Culinary adventures: lobster tales

Lobster v. Xander

I gave the lobster this very same look of trepidation as my little helper

Seafood was not a big thing around my house growing up. Like, it was non-existent. As a child into adulthood, I believed with every fibre of my being that things from the sea were “icky.” But then, I grew up, and tasted salmon. And shrimp. And crab. But one thing I have little experience with is lobster. After a lobster boil at a friend’s place last week (where the lobster had been helpfully cracked open and the meat removed for sissies like me), the host offered me some leftover lobsters. Thankfully, already boiled, I’m sorry but I don’t have it in me to actually kill them. I realize it makes me a hypocrite. Anyway, I was already having people over, so I thought what they heck?

Lobster1

Which brings me to the following afternoon, where me and these two handsome fellows were having a showdown. I’ve never actually cracked open a lobster before, without outright instruction and finally someone just taking them away from me and doing it themselves (people can be so bossy). So here was my first time. I had to look up a youtube video on how to do it.

First up was twisting off the tail. My first attempt at this was fantastic; I figured I was a prodigee. Second attempt proved otherwise.

Lobster3

Once the tail was twisted off, I cracked off the end of the tail (the “fin” part), then simply pushed all of the meat out the top. Clean and easy.Lobster4

Next came the claws. There was a lot of cursing, because the shell is just so damn spiny and I kept on tearing into my skin. Also problematic: I didn’t actually have a cracker to help me. So I used a mallet, thereby spewing my counter with confetti of pinkish lobster shell. But it did get the darn things open.

Lobster5There wasn’t enough meat to feed everyone at the dinner party straight-up, so I found what looked like a delicious recipe on epicurious with lobster as a base: Lobster Pasta with Herbed Cream Sauce. What it turned out to be was Fettucine Alfredo with some lobster in it. Result: Still delicious. I really toned down the hard core parts of the original recipe. For example, I did not boil the empty shells, largely because I had reduced them to pink confetti.

Lobster Pasta with Herbed Cream Sauce
Meat from 3 lobsters
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 large plum tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 fresh tarragon sprigs
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh Italian parsley sprigs
6 cups whipping cream

1 1/2 pounds fettuccine or linguine

Remove meat from tail and claws; place meat in medium bowl. Remove any roe from bodies and place in small bowl. Cover and chill meat and roe (if any). Remove tomalley (green matter) from bodies and discard.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Stir in tomatoes, wine, vinegar, garlic, tarragon, thyme, and parsley.Add tomato paste; stir 3 minutes.  Add cream; boil 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer just until lobster flavor infuses cream, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Transfer sauce to heavy large saucepan. Cut lobster meat into bite-size pieces; coarsely crumble roe, if using. Add to sauce, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to pot. Add sauce; toss over medium-high heat until sauce coats pasta, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to large shallow bowl and serve.

I served this with an heirloom tomato salad, and it was delicious but really rich. Went over well at the party!

Word of the day:

Dalliance:

a trifling away of time; dawdling;

amorous toying; flirtation.

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