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Lobster Three Ways
By Fiora Watts
These days, wild twists on familiar staples can be found on the menu of every top restaurant. While rock star chefs attempt to outdo one another in the name of creativity, there's still something to be said for appreciating the basics. Most home cooks on a budget would be too intimidated to recreate such innovative dishes in their own kitchens; but what if a top chef were to provide his or hger own recipe for something we actually had a shot at making ourselves?
We set out to find three different recipes for lobster: grilled, salt roasted, and pan roasted, and asked three highly-regarded Maine chefs for their advice on purchasing, storage and, of course, preparation. Here's what they had to say...
from Chef Gina Melita The Pentagoet Inn, Castine
To get the best lobster meat, choosing the liveliest lobsters available is the first step, says Chef Melita. Next, fire up the grill. Fill a large pot with 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water and place the lobsters in a single layer. (Ideally, the pot should be about 18 inches wide to accommodate this arrangement.) Salt the water generously (about 2 ounces of salt per gallon), and add the bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and coriander seeds. Bring water to a rapid boil, Over high heat, place live lobsters in the pot, head first, on their backs. Cover and let simmer 6 minutes. Using tongs, carefully remove each lobster from the pot and spray all over with canola spray (this keeps the shells from turning dry and chalky). Place on the grill, on their stomachs, over high flame. Cover with a deep pot lid and let cook 6‑8 minutes. Uncover and flip lobsters over on their backs; cook another 3‑5 minutes (Melita's tip: if you look at the underside where the tail meets the carapace and you see juices bubbling you'll know it's nearly done.) Let the lobster rest on a cool part of the grill for 3‑4 minutes to finish its internal steaming.
When fully cooked, the meat should be opaque and the shells bright orange/red. Grilling the lobster whole, not split, she explains, protects the delicate texture of the meat from exposure to the flame. "The shell begins to smolder while the meat steams inside, and the smokiness imparted by grilling adds a whole new depth to the natural sweetness of the meat."
Serves 4. Visit Maine Food & Lifestyle's website.