Originally published in Seasonal Guide, June 27, 2014
The many ways to eat a lobster
by Anne Berleant
A boiled or steamed Maine lobster, with plenty of drawn butter, for dinner. A lobster roll, piled high with cold lobster lightly tossed with mayonnaise, for lunch. Is there a better way to eat a lobster in coastal Maine?
Well…yes—if not better, then certainly equal.
Try a seafood chowder, with tender chunks of lobster matched with clams, scallops and shrimps. Lobster for breakfast? Why not, slipped inside an omelet or a crepe and covered with Mornay or hollandaise. A lobster taco or quesadilla with some local refried black beans is definitely not out of the question. Dress up a diner BLT special by making it a double L—just add lobster.
But first, the lobster must be cooked, or at least parboiled. While methods vary between adding the lobsters to the pot before or after the water is boiled, using sea-salt is recommended. For a more ocean-y flavor, use water straight from the Atlantic. And remember to remove the bands from the lobster claws after the cooking, not before. To steam a lobster, just put two inches of water in the bottom of a large pot, place a steaming rack on the bottom and add the lobsters once the water comes to a boil.
Allow eight minutes of boiling and 10 minutes for steaming a one pound lobster, recommends the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, and add about two minutes per added quarter-pound. Another tip: when boiling more than one, measure the time per lobster, not for their collective weight.
To browse through over 400 lobster recipes, visit the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative at lobsterfrommaine.com/lobster-recipes.aspx.
And then….enjoy the taste that is unique to a Maine lobster.
Five facts about Maine lobsters and lobstermen
Lobsters come in many colors—but not very often. A blue lobster showing up in a trap is a one-in-two-million chance. One in 30 million lobsters is yellow. A red lobster shows up once out of about 10 million lobsters. “A lobster’s color comes from layers of pigment,” according to Penobscot East Resource Center’s 2013 intern Elizabeth Evans. “Red lobsters under-produce the same pigment that blue lobsters overproduce.” Cooking breaks down the layer of pigment, lending cooked lobsters their red hue.
For the fifth year running, Stonington was the top port for landed lobsters in 2013. Nearly 17.5 million pounds of lobster landed on the pier in Stonington in 2013, netting $47 million for the port, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources.
The Port of Stonington boasts a fleet of over 300 working lobster boats.
In 2013, lobstermen from up and down the coast of Maine formed a union, joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. About 18 months later, it now has over 600 members.
Unlike the new lobstermen’s union, the Maine Lobstermen Association is the largest and oldest fishing association on the East Coast. Formed in 1954, it is now in its 60th year.