Fried seafood is good, but it’s not my favorite. That distinction goes to the water spiders known as lobsters. Actually, I probably like the taste of crab a little better, but tearing into a lobster is just too much fun not to do whenever possible. Considering they’re expensive and I live in New York, it’s not a possibility most of the time, but when you’re spending a week in Ipswich, Massachusetts and the lobsters are all around, take advantage!
Last Friday wound up being lobster day and I was pretty darn excited. We swung by a local place and got two lobsters because apparently I’m the only one in the family who likes them. I believe they were soft shell, but I was in the car with the baby when they were purchased so I’m not sure. When we got back to the house, I helped get the cooking set up ready.
Basically you put a bunch of stuff in the bottom of a pot with water, put a grate down, and toss the lobsters in once it’s steaming until they turn red. Make sure, though, that the lobsters don’t touch the water. That’s what I was told. I helped get the stuff ready, but can’t remember everything that went in. My mother in law cooks off the top of her head and instructed me as I went, so this won’t be an exact recount. She did tell me to throw a few limes in that I had squeezed most of the juice out of already, I think a lemon, a bunch of herbs (stems included), salt, pepper and seaweed. Seaweed?! Yes, seaweed. That’s a tip my mother in law told me, you should always ask the fishmonger for it because it adds another layer between the lobsters and the water.
I can’t remember what else went into the pot. I think we vetoed a few suggestions like grapes and apples (or maybe we did put the apple in). Once the steam got going with the lid slightly ajar, it was time to drop the sea bugs into the pot. My mother in law handled this. I know it’s cowardly, but I still have trouble looking my food in the eye before it dies.
Gotta say, it was great. I have a method that was taught to me by my father in law years ago when I first gave lobster a go in New England (I had been offered it a few times before that by my folks, but it wasn’t my thing at the time), popping all the legs off and sucking the meat out. I then move on to the big arms, working my way up the arm to the claw. From there it’s a struggle to get the back shell off. I’ve actually still got a little nick on my thumb from prying that sucker open. It was worth the pain and bloodshed though. Still, gotta say, it can get pretty gross when you crack the back open and all that goop plops out. Totally worth it though. I love me some lobster. I think if I lived in New England near the water I’d spend most of my days writing on outdoor porches and checking my lobster trap. That seems like a good life to me.