Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to cook lobsters and not freak out the girl

If your date is from the Northeast, chances are good that she's going to love this idea and will support your latest cooking endeavor. However, even if she can tear through a pile of Chesapeake Bay Blue crabs with the best of them, in most cases, you're going to have to tread lightly. Cooking live lobster can be a delicate issue.
"Can you bring Old Bay to a lobster fight?"

But don't fret. Because who can really turn down indulging in lobsters on a patio during a cool evening in October? And if she's not willing to get dirty cracking apart crustaceans, there's not a single girl on Earth who turns down lobster mac n' cheese.....

So keep reading to learn about how to boil and steam fresh lobsters (it’s as easy as cooking pasta) but take note of three disaster possibilities:
Disaster Possibility 1: She's an avid pescetarian who gets outdoors, hikes, has a dog, and enjoys the occasional farmers market as well as a medium-rare filet mignon from time to time. However, SHE DETESTS KILLING THINGS. So surprising her with two boxes of semi-"awake" lobsters that you intend to boil to death will drive her away faster than fantasy football talk on a Tuesday. 
  • Fix 1: Don't cook lobsters!
  • Fix 2: Put the lobsters in the pot just before she arrives. Lobsters will take 10 minutes to cook so your timing must be impeccable (you're playing with fire my friend)
  • Fix 3: Cook the lobsters earlier that day and make homemade (not Kraft!) lobster mac n' cheese that's topped with slightly-browned bread crumbs then baked and served in your favorite cast-iron skillet

The colander could save you
Disaster Possibility 2: You freak out. You like crossfit, hit the trail sporadically, and can throw a spiral better than Rex Grossman on a good day. You feel pretty manly.

But if you've ever hesitated about squashing a spider in your house with just a napkin, you may freak out. Picking up a feisty lobster while your inner yogi is screaming at you for boiling (or steaming) a crustacean alive, may end your night, ahem, prematurely.
  • Fix 1: Steam the lobsters. Take the colander out of the steaming pot, place the lobsters in the colander, cover with a lid, then put the whole thing back into the steaming pot. Migrate to the living room, pour the both of you a glass of wine, and return 4 minutes later. As a result, you won't have to deal with squirming lobsters in a boiling pot, by leaving the kitchen they'll be out of sight/out of mind, and when you come back they'll be dead and starting to look more like dinner.
  • Fix 2: Man up. Are you going to let these bottom feeders cock block you?!?

Disaster Possibility 3: She's allergic to shellfish.
  • Fix 1: EpiPen
  • Fix 2: You're an idiot for not checking her allergies ahead of time

Now that you've made it through the disaster scenarios, let's learn how to cook lobsters

Sweet sweet Maine lobsters
  • 4 1-1 1/4lb Lobsters
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Lobster cracking tool
  • Optional Ingredients: Lobster Bib
  • Classic Sides: Red potatoes and corn
The two easiest ways to cook lobsters are to boil them or to steam them. People say you can grill them (parboil then grill) but this just seems to risky for a novice. There will be a slight difference in taste between boiling and steaming, but if this is you're first time, you probably won't notice a difference.
  • Lobsters should ALWAYS be alive before cooking
  • I found my large pot can hold two lobsters comfortably and I was perfectly content with a two lobster serving size. As a result, you may have to think about logistics if you're trying to cook 4 lobsters with 1 lobster pot
 Boiling Lobsters
  1. Salt a large pot of water (so it tastes like seawater) and bring to a boil 
    1. I seriously underestimated the time my watched pot took to boil; therefore, I recommend turning the pot on earlier and getting the water to a near boil. You can always turn the temperature down slightly until the right time
  2. Place two lobsters into the boiling pot of water
  3. Do not cover
  4. Stir halfway through the cooking process
  5. Happy steaming lobsters
  6. 1 1/4 lb lobsters will take 9-10 minutes
  7. Remove from the pot and serve immediately with melted butter.
Steaming Lobsters
  1. Put in about two inches of water to a large pot
  2. Salt the water and bring to a boil
  3. Put the lobsters in the colander, cover, and steam
  4. Stir halfway through the cooking process
  5. 1 1/4 lb lobsters will take 12 minutes
  6. Remove from the pot and serve immediately with melted butter.

The Maine Lobster Council website seems legit (because it says Maine and lobsters are from Maine) so go there for more information on cook times but also how to eat a lobster.

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