01 Feb2007


Sometimes you just have to gasp!!! Look what was delivered to our doorstep this evening just after the evening meal was cooked and about to be put on our table. Four utterly brilliant lob2and lively 1.5 pound North American lobsters that had been flown in from Canadian waters, still in their packing box and now on a bed of ice. Despite the 1-2 day trip, they were lively and feisty still. We have friends that come from an incredibly dedicated foody family. And like us, they relish the thought of a particular meal, dish or specialty; and obsess over how to make it even more perfect – sometimes it is lechon skin, other times the thinnest of lumpia wrappers, still others classic Pinoy fare and then shift to the best Kobe Beef the Japanese have ever produced. Let’s just say they know their food. And these friends know I simply cannot resist a “catch” of this sort…and so they were being extremely generous by sending over four amazing lobsters. Diet be damned this evening, that’s for sure. I set aside our planned dinner and started boiling up a pot of water. Boiled for just under 10 minutes, these babies were sublime. The meat was incredibly tender yet juicy, the simple dip of melted butter and some lemon juice with a touch of salt, a classic match.

Homarus americanus (American Lobster) are characterized by its humongous claws, which are not only weapons, but possess a lot of “dark meat.” While Maine lob3is the the Northeastern U.S. state that is most synonymous with lobsters, it turns out that the bulk of commercial lobster catches of this variety come from Canada, specifically from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, according to Alan Davidson. These lobsters differ from what are called “spiny lobsters” here and elsewhere in the tropics because the latter warmer water dwellers have no large claws. While I love local lobsters fresh from the sea, I have to say that I categorically prefer the meat of a fresh North American lobster. Of course I haven’t tasted the legendary blue lobsters from off of the French coast that are supposed to be noticeably more delicious than their North American cousins, but the North American species trump the local ones, in my opinion… If you are my age, you may remember the memorable scene in the cheesy movie Flashdance where Jennifer Beals eats a lobster at a restaurant in the most sensual way, I have never forgotten it…

We were unable to finish the lobsters this evening so I have saved some of the lob4meat to make another dish tomorrow. Our crew also boiled up the lobster shells and made it into a wickedly extravagant broth with noodles. Nothing wasted at all. When cooking lobsters, be careful not to overcook them as they get tough… there is a fine line between not cooked and just barely cooked. I’m sure there are rules about how long you should be cooking a particular size of lobster but I just wing it… these evening, the 1.5 pound lobsters took roughly 8-10 minutes each to cook. And to our generous friends, many thanks for this totally unexpected, but most appreciated, crustacean bounty!!!



  1. Maria Clara says:

    Lobsters are great. The sender really knows their food and they have such a classy act. Luck is always on your side for having friends who are generous and thoughtful. I like the way you have them boil with right timing and lemon and butter dipping. Lobster sandwich is also good but my favorite dish -thermidor with rice pilaf. Yes, you are absolutely correct nothing is wasted. Their shells make a great stock for risotto, bisque, shrimp sinigang and pancit palabok or Malabon.

    Feb 2, 2007 | 1:49 am


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  3. MRJP says:

    I cooked this type of lobster in several occasions and wow, it was a real treat. I love these lobsters, they’re even filled with “aligue” when you open them on the back. Am not sure if they were masses of aligue or simply just lobster eggs. When cooked, those aligue or eggs look red, solid and they are chewy. I loved the aligue/eggs as well as the glorious meat. Really? You can use the shells for cooking noodle soup? I usually throw out the lobster shells, next time, I will try to do the same with it.

    Feb 2, 2007 | 3:38 am

  4. grazia says:

    What a fabulous treat! I hope you’ll post soon on how to work humanely with lobsters. In fact, I initially found your blog during Dungeness crab season (I’m from Berkeley, California) and I googled ‘Crab 101’ and found you! Now I’m simply addicted to your blog, whether I have anything special to cook or not!

    Feb 2, 2007 | 6:57 am

  5. Big Al says:

    I was a buyer of Snow Crab in Alaska and I have a lot of experience on crab cooking. It is very important to cook the crabs or other shellfish the proper way – the cooking time to be in particular. If the shellfish is over-cooked it will lose its moisture and the meat will become tough. If it’s under-cooked it will have some kind of oxidization or it will turn into black (the term we use here is bluing). It is still okay to eat the lobster but you can’t keep it longer because it will look disgusting. Here is the proper way to cook lobster:

    1. Put seawater (preferably) or salted water (second choice) in a large cooking pot (just enough water to completely cover the lobster when you place it inside).

    2. Bring the water to boil. Put the lobster(s) inside head first, one at time, into the rapidly boiling water. Bring water to a second boil. Cover the pot and boil for about 12 to 15 minutes.

    3. Remove the lobster from the boiling water immediately, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

    4. When lobsters have cooled down which is enough to handle, you are ready to eat.

    Cooking Test: Lobster meat should be pure white, opaque and elastic. Walking legs will pull out easily from the body. Tomalley (liver) will be green and firm. Roe (found in some female lobsters) will be bright red and firm. If it is black and oily the lobster is undercooked.

    Feb 2, 2007 | 8:08 am

  6. linda says:

    What a treat!I wish we had foodie friends like yours! The way you had it was simplicity at its best and this is how we always have ours (which doesn’t happen very often).

    To work humanely with lobsters so they don’t get stressed or feel pain,we always put the live lobsters in the freezer and the temperature makes them go to sleep forever.

    Feb 2, 2007 | 8:09 am

  7. Marketman says:

    Maria Clara, I managed boiled lobster with butter and lemon, a small single serving lobster with tomato pasta, two lobster salad sandwiches for lunch today and a lobster shell broth with noodles for the crew! Nothing wasted indeed. MRJP, if you want the most spectacular lobster bisque made the traditional way…you start with tons of lobster shells and carcasses… If you eat lobster, you can freeze the shells for a few days before you use them if you don’t feel like having lobster dish after lobster dish. Aridelros, I think they would go with most pairings for prawns and our own crabs and lobsters…though I am not sure about a sinigang since the meat seems to be sweeter. Grazia, as Linda mentions, just put them in the freezer for 12-15 minutes to really cool them down and lull them into thinking they are in the deep sea, then plunge them into the boiling murderous water. When I was a teenager, I swore they cried when we cooked them during summers spent in Long Island, NY, but it was really the steam coming out of their shells that was making noises. It does seem a shame to eat them. But gosh are they good. Big Al, thanks so much for those tips, they sound really really helpful. As for cooking time, I just looked it up in Jasper White’s great book on Lobster and he suggest a large pot of boiling water and for a 1 pound lobster 8 minutes, a 1.5 pound lobster 11 minutes and a 2 pound lobster 15 minutes. Do not crowd the pot or it will take longer to cook them; I used a medium sized pot and only cooked one lobster at a time, which takes about a minutes less since the water remains hotter even after you plunge the lobster into it. Linda, yup, with butter and lemon straight out of the pot they were terrific!

    Feb 2, 2007 | 8:55 am

  8. Chris says:

    Marketman, what a coincidence! Yesterday evening, a supplier just knocked on our backdoor asking to see me. He had a box full of live north american lobsters! This is the first time I saw them live here in manila (hehe, I describe it like it’s a foreign artist) He said he just wanted to show the lobsters to the restaurants around the area and that he is planning to import them live, 1,800 a kilo with each piece weighing 500 to 600 grams. The guy’s name is Jeff Turner of Filfresh. tel 8437070. i am posting the contact nos. in the hope that a lot of people will be interested, then we’ll all be rewarded with a steady supply. =)

    Feb 2, 2007 | 9:53 am

  9. lee says:

    I covet Big Al’s job.

    “Friends who give me lobsters are my friends forever.” Confucius 527 B.C.

    Feb 2, 2007 | 9:54 am

  10. joey says:

    Lucky you! What a great surprise foodie gift :) your lobster dinner sounds amazing, as does everything else you eventually did to them :)

    Feb 2, 2007 | 10:43 am

  11. Tony says:

    The way you ate those delicious crustaceans is far more gastronomically correct than another way I was once persuaded to try a few years ago. I used to travel to the Middle East a lot, particularly the Emirates. My colleague, ex British Army, was in the habit of getting back to our hotel after work, changing for the pool and meeting me there for lunch. He persuaded me to try his favourite, a large grilled lobster split in half and covered in, wait for it , curry sauce. Actually not bad for relaxing by the pool, washed down by a large mug of ice cold beer. In those days I always stayed at the Sheraton Towers in Abu Dhabi. All cheerful pinoy waiters.

    Feb 2, 2007 | 11:09 am

  12. Marketman says:

    Chris, I wouldn’t be surprised if they came in the same shipment…gosh, that sounds good indeed. A bit pricey but they are very good lobsters. A great offering for Valentine’s dinner with a big steak… I hope the customs people release his lobsters alive… Tony, a grilled lobster is good but I wouldn’t be too keen on the curry sauce… However, a chinese version with black bean sauce is quite yummy…

    Feb 2, 2007 | 11:29 am

  13. abby says:

    lucky people, i have not tasted lobsters in my life since i’m allergic to crustaceans and even just a tiny bit of shrimp gives me itchy rashes that lasts up to two weeks.

    Feb 3, 2007 | 2:09 am

  14. Ted says:

    Has anyone tried the Dungeoness Crab Sandwich from Tarantino’s at Fisherman’s Wharf (SFO). How does it compare with the Lobster roll of Maine? I’ve tried the crab sandwich and they were heavenly, but have not tried any lobster roll at all.

    Feb 3, 2007 | 6:22 am

  15. tulip says:

    I’ve tried the one at SFO but haven’t tried the lobster roll in Maine. The crab sandwich was really, really good. I miss it a lot!

    Feb 3, 2007 | 3:11 pm

  16. MeltingWok says:

    ooh, this one I’m on luck, we usually have it all year round. Particularly cheap during the summer time. If I’m lucky I could get a couple gorgeous just drop dead ones for USD1.99, cooked with chinese wine and ginger scallions, yummys ! :)

    Feb 4, 2007 | 8:19 pm


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