December 23, 2015

Holiday home cooking: live lobsters

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It's two days before Christmas, and Hello Kitty and I are spending a few days this holiday season doing some home cooking.  First up was dinner at a friend's home tonight, with some special guests flown in from the Atlantic coast of Canada.

Hello Kitty found out from our Russian caviar supplier that we can order live-trapped lobsters from Nova Scotia, so we placed an order and made arrangements with Birdie Golf do cook them at home.  The lobsters were delivered this afternoon, and these guys were still alive and kicking.  We rushed over to our friends' place with our dinner...

We started with a generous pot of moules marinières - along with some clams.  I wasted no time in dipping a yummy piece of bread into the sauce...

Then it was time for the main event.  We decided to share 6 of these live-trapped lobsters. They were still moving around a little... and it was pretty obvious that most of them weren't gonna go without putting up a good fight.  But first we gotta release their urine...

There was a little debate between Hello Kitty and I as to whether the lobsters should be killed before being dumped into the pot for steaming.  I advocated a quick kill by splitting the heads with a knife - not quite the Japanese ikejime (生け締め) method - so that the lobsters wouldn't struggle as they slowed died while steaming.  It's not a question of being "humane", but simply a matter of less acid released from stress - resulting in a tastier bite.

So Hello Kitty dutifully took a knife to them... and decided to stop at three.  We figured we'd compare the taste of the lobsters - between the ones steamed alive and the ones that were killed by splitting their heads.

The first batch of three dead lobsters arrived, and we immediately went to work on them.  The lobster meat seemed a lot more chewy and springy than most of the lobsters I can remember eating... and it ain't because of overcooking.  Very nice.

One of us doesn't like tomalley, so guess who got to take it all for himself?  There was so much of it... and the taste of it was so awesome... that spooning it into my mouth was just heavenly.

The second batch was steamed alive, and we all dug in so greedily that we completely forgot to compare if the lobster meat tasted any different...

But the tomalley was different.  Since these lobsters didn't have their heads split open, the tomalley was more runny.

We decided to make it a "surf and turf" evening, so our friends marinated and grilled a nice, juicy piece of steak.  Everyone seems to prefer the grain-fed US beef... except me, that is.  But even though I find it less environmentally friendly, I'll still eat it, of course...  And yeah, it was damn tasty!

We ended the evening with some goodies from Lady M.  I chose the Signature Mille Crêpes, which was pretty nice.

I brought a couple of bottles of Cali for our hosts to enjoy, while they very generously popped the cork on a bottle of bubbly that I love.

Jacques Selosse Brut Initial - a little yeasty, a little oxidized.  Smooth and mature on the palate, but obviously still lively.

2004 Kistler Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard - nose was very toasty, oaky.  Ripe on the palate.  Later on the buttery notes came out.

2005 Kistler Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard - a little forest herbs, a little oaky, with sweet fruit.

A very good evening.  Next time, though, I think we'll just get more lobsters...

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