Saturday, May 30, 2009


Lobsters were on sale at the local general store today. What kid doesn't like to look at a tank of live lobsters? Willow put the pressure on me when I commented the price was good. $5.99 a pound for hard shell.

So I bought this one which weighed 1-1/4 lbs and cooked it off when we got home. Dropped in a pot of boiling water and boiled for 12-15 minutes, or until an antennae pops out easily with a quick jerk.

Lots of folks eat theirs shelled, hot and dipped in melted butter. I prefer lobster rolls, so I chilled mine for picking this afternoon.

I have many years of professional cooking under my belt,and I learned how to pick lobsters from a wonderful woman named Andrea. Most chefs know their way around a french knife well enough-10-14 inches of wide blade which comes to a point. I have frightened many friends merrily chopping away while meeting their eyes in conversation. Andrea, however, was a different story. She scared ME.

Proper knife use teaches one to have the back of the blade in contact with the holding hand or fingers, so you always know where the sharp end is at. Well, picking lobster starts with dismembering it-the tail gets snapped off the body with a twist, the large claws and knuckles in the same manner. This is where most folks pick up the mallet. Not Andrea.

After twisting off the smaller pincer, she showed me to hold the end of the claw/leg with the back curve of the large pincer resting on the cutting board. Then with a wild wave of the french knife, she would stick the knife blade in the end of the large claw above where the small pincer had been removed, and then with a twist, neatly split the shell revealing the claw meat.

Then she would repeat the process with both knuckles, and then the other claw. She could pick a lobster in under a minute. I use the technique she showed me, but am a little more hesitant with my wild swing. I raise the knife only about a foot before the thwack, and often have to repeat once or twice to get the blade deep enough for the twist.

Andrea, on the other hand, used to raise the knife about two feet above the board with each thwack, while meeting your eyes in conversation. "Thwack, thwack, thawk!!" One side done...eek!

We used to chuck the bodies and legs, but tonight I grabbed a toothpick and picked out each individual leg. I might have gained another tablesppon of meat out of eight legs, but that was ok. Into the Hellman's mayo they went, slapped on a grilled bun with a shock of lettuce. Mmmm. I had three-well, they were a little skimpy, but Yum.

Rest in Peace, Freddie. (lobsters were called Freddies at one place I worked)

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