It's Lobster Time!

by Paul Mones
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lobstersLobster season is in  high gear. While lobsters are of course most easily available on the east coast and New England, you can get pretty good live lobster now at reputable markets around the US thanks to purveyors who are not (luckily) locavores.

Folks who sell lobsters know that their product is so good that not even a politically correct eater can stay away from them. For those who are part of the extreme locavoreans, indulge yourself, suspend your obsession for just one meal - it will be worth it. 

Unfortunately, most of us still prepare and eat lobster the same way we have been taught for generations. The pleasures of boiling the lobster and eating it with drawn butter or with mayo in toasted rolls cannot be underestimated.

Lobster Fra Diablo or lobster with XO sauce are great, but merely variations on a theme. Here's a simple recipe for an appetizer/salad  that retains some of the familiar but introduces some nice new twists.

Lobster Times Two

(serves 4)

2, 1.5-2  pound lobsters

Juice of 2 medium-large  lemons

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cubed  medium avocado

1 cubed medium tomato - seeds removed

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 medium red onion

1.5 teaspoons or so of kosher or sea salt

teaspoon pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)

1/2 cup rough chopped minced cerignola or kalamata olives

optional: 1 inch minced jalapeno (no seeds) OR 1 teaspoon gochujam (Korean red pepper paste )

1. Boil a pot of lightly salted water.

2. This next step requires you to separate  the tail from the main body of the  live lobster - yes when it is alive. This procedure involve summoning the caveman/woman inside of you because the lobster will not cooperate and lie still as you kill it. Its legs and claws will flail and will continue to do so even after the tail is separated from the body.  It is however a good exercise for developing an appreciation for  what it means to hunt -actually kill -  and prepare your own food from scratch - well almost - it's not like killing a pig, scraping the hair from the body, removing its organs  and butchering it. Hold the lobster down on its back on a cutting board  and with a very sharp chef's knife or cleaver (be careful because the knife can slip because  the lobster can wiggle --so use a dishtowel to grasp the lobster with the non-cutting hand), stick the point of the knife at the point where the pale white cartilaginous part of the tail meets the hard shell. Then push the blade down firmly, cutting right through the lobster separating the tail from the body.

3. Plunge the body into the  pot of boiling water and cook until done -when the lobster is red. Plunge into ice water. Repeat with other tail.

4. Put the lobster tail shell side down on the cutting board. With one hand hold the lobster down with a dish towel (the dish towel is an optional step but the tail has some sharp edges so this will help protect your hand)  and work the knife point down the center of the body until you reach the end of the tail - you can cut clean through the body  or you can just make a clean cut through the shell and pull out the whole tail. Alternatively you can use kitchen shears to cut through the shell. Once the tail is cut cleaning through, spread the shell apart (again use the kitchen towel to protect your hands)   and remove the lobster meat - it will take a little careful tugging and  may require working your knife between the shell and the meat to separate the meat form the shell.

5. Rinse the tail meat under cool running water and pat dry.

6. Slice meat thinly - but not too thinly - and put in steel or glass bowl.

7. Crack the cooked lobster claws and extract whatever meat you can from the rest of the body. Chop the cooked meat in cubes and mix in with the raw lobster meat.

8. Whisk olive oil and lemon juice well and then add minced ginger, red onion, salt , olives and pimenton and whisk again.

9. Pour over lobster and let sit for 2 hours in the fridge. Every 1/2 hour give mixture a toss with a spoon.

10. One half hour before serving, add avocado and tomatoes and optional jalapeno. If you use gochujam you will have to fold it into the lobster mixture


Paul Mones is nationally recognized children's rights attorney specializing in representing sexual abuse victims and  teens who kill their parents. He is also a published author and most importantly an avid chef who won the 1978 North Carolina Pork Barbecue Championship.  

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