Since it’s a a new year, I thought I’d share one of my recent “firsts”–cooking lobster at home!
Although I was born & raised in Massachusetts, I was never really one for seafood…which is basically a crime in New England. When my family would enjoy fresh lobster dinners, I would be off in the corner with a plate of chicken tenders and a bucket of ketchup.
When I moved to Connecticut and started learning how to cook, I used tilapia as my “gateway” fish. It’s very mild. After that, I started exploring the world of fish! These days, I love all kinds of sea creatures. :) Last spring, I tried lobster for the first time in the perfect place to do so–Cape Cod, Massachusetts! Dan and I were on vacation, and he encouraged me to give it a go. I went for the baked lobster, and although I enjoyed the lobster meat, the whole dish was swimming in butter so I didn’t finish it.
A month or two ago, Dan was really stressed at work–his busy season is really intense. Since I was home on medical leave, I figured I’d do something nice for him. I decided to cook a lobster dinner for him, since it is his favorite food!
I was extremely freaked out by the whole idea, but I knew it would be a great learning experience. I have never had a shelled lobster before, and I was (and am still) terrified of the idea of killing my own food. I mean, I actually feel guilty killing an ant. I really do. So lobster? Yikes. To make matters worse, the fish monger at the store ran out of staples to close the bag of my live lobsters–the whole drive home I envisioned those little guys trying to make a run for it in my car! I ended up making Dan put them in the boiling water (head first)–I just wasn’t emotionally ready to do that part.
I found this great recipe by the Neelys–I liked it because you cut the lobster in half and clean all the gunk out before you cook it. It definitely made the whole “eating it out of the shell while it’s staring at me” thing a lot more bearable. Not to mention, it was totally delicious.
Cutting the lobsters in half was…grotesque. But I did that part all by myself, and I think it will make me less weirded out by lobsters in the future. I hope. Mostly I just tried not to think about it too hard.
What really made this recipe special was the herb butter–it used chives and tarragon. I had never used tarragon before–it smells like licorice! Normally I’m not a huge licorice fan, but the tarragon added a neat flavor profile you wouldn’t expect from an herb butter. We really liked the way it worked with the lobster meat and the chives.
The finished product was tender, flavorful, and (I must admit) fun to eat! While I’m not totally over being weirded out by cooking lobsters at home (and then having them stare at me while I’m eating them…*shiver*), I think my anxiety about eating lobster is less…intense. They do taste delicious, after all.
We enjoyed some delicious roasted asparagus and Bogle cabernet sauvignon. If you haven’t tried Bogle’s wines, you really should–they are cheap, but delicious! We love their merlot.
Even Baxter, the world’s pickiest cat, was intrigued (the only human food he will eat is mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, and Talenti tahitian vanilla bean gelato. I kid you not).
Do you love/hate lobster? Have you prepared it at home?