Friday, July 5, 2013


Here in Corozal, what we might lack by way of gourmet ingredients, we make up for during this time of year with lobster season.

Restaurants run special lobster dishes, my Facebook friends have been posting some of their homemade lobster delights, and we even have a Lobster Fest happening tomorrow.

In short, it's a crush of love for this crustacean.

But here's the thing (actually, two): I have never cooked lobster and, if memory serves me, I've only eaten it once in my life...and that was probably 30 years ago.

How could this be? Well, I vividly remember going to the grocery store with my mom and seeing lobsters climbing all over one another in a large aquarium. Their poor claws were cuffed with rubber bands, and I just wanted to set them free. Yes, I was a goofy, weird child.

As I got older and learned more about cooking, I discovered that the way one cooks a lobster is generally when they are alive and kicking, and dropping them into a pot of boiling water. The other method I read about calls for you to insert the sharp tip of a chef's knife into the live lobster's head.

Not gonna' happen. If I bought a live lobster, it would have a name before it even left the store and there was no way I could bring about its demise. Now clearly my logic has lots of flaws. I eat all kinds of other foods that come from the sea and land that obviously were alive at one point. But I guess the difference is that when I buy shrimp, or beef, or pork, or whatever, I don't have to kill it first before I eat it. Yes, not only was a goofy, weird child, but I'm a goofy, weird adult. And a wussy baby.

But with all the pomp around here about lobster, I wondered if there was some solution I could come up with that didn't require me to commit lobstercide.

After perusing a number of recipes, I landed on the idea of poaching lobster tails... butter, then adding a bunch of other yummy things like garlic. And tomatoes. And pasta.

I had pasta dough already in the freezer, so the only thing I had to do was use the pasta machine to roll it out and cut it (after I thawed it out, of course).

While that was drying out a bit, I chopped up my tomatoes and garlic, then took one stick of butter and cut into about tablespoon size pieces.

I enlisted David to take pictures of this lobster-palooza and cook the pasta. Truly a man of many talents. He was also hungry, which helped.

For the lobster tails, I wanted to get the shells off. Using a pair of kitchen shears, I tackled the top of the shell first...

...then the belly side.


And I didn't freak out for even one second.

Next, I cut the lobster into chunks...

...and started up my butter poach. In a medium saute pan, I put in 1 tablespoon of water and brought that to a simmer. One by one,  the chunks of butter were added.

You want to make sure each chunk is whisked in, before adding the next. Also, keep the heat on the low side so the butter won't burn.

Once all the butter was incorporated, I added the lobster chunks.

Over the next five minutes, I gently spooned the melted butter over the lobster meat and turned the meat bits over one time about halfway through the poach.

While that was going on, David had dropped the pasta into a pot of boiling, salted water. After about six minutes, it was good to go, drained, and put into serving bowls.

The lobster bits got placed on top of the pasta, and the last touches were put on the sauce.

I added the minced garlic and chopped tomatoes and let that all simmer for just a minute.

The tomatoes let go of some of their juices and softened a bit.

Then all that lovely, buttery sauce got poured over the lobster and pasta, and a bit of chopped basil completed the dish.

So? How did it taste? Not bad; not bad at all. Needless to say it was rich, with the butter sauce. We both thought it could have used a smidge more salt and a little kick, like maybe from some crushed red pepper flakes.

While eating it, I thought that if the lobster was cut into smaller bits, it and the butter, tomato, garlic, basil sauce might work great with some grilled pieces of bread -- rather like a bruschetta.

Would I make lobster again? Probably. We're lucky that it's easy to get this time of year, and it makes a nice change of pace for our dinner menus.

Am I ready to take down a live, whole lobster?


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