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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Whole lobster, while pricey, has many uses

Lobster, sweet lobster. To me, eating a freshly dispatched one takes me back in my memories to a rocky bank in Massachusetts with the smell of seaweed and ocean permeating my senses.
At the same time, I fly back to Kauai where I was snorkeling at Tunnels Beach a year and a half ago. On one especially fruitful trip over a chunky part of the second reef, I noticed the tiniest of “wiggles” in my periphery. Doing a 180, I swam back over the crevice to stare face to face with a huge reef lobster. I floated there, wondering if I should reach into the hole and grab it, since it was easily three to four pounds. However, common sense reeled me back in as I knew how powerful lobsters can be in the wild (and downright ornery). In hindsight I’m still glad that I was able to keep my bravado in check. I swam back to shore empty-handed, but the next time we go I will buy a lobster snare. Alas, I simply had to go without.
Reality dictates that we don’t eat too much lobster in our home base, as it is a pricey dish (more on that in a second), but today in one of our classes, a student named Derek made lobster rolls while we were studying New England. They were fantastic and as I walked around the class and noticed some leftover bacon, I quickly threw some in the oven to cook and have ready to make a little dish so high in fat and cholesterol so as to make it nigh perfect.
The mighty lobster is a wonderful and magnificent creature of the sea and it has such delicious meat from which to build simple, yet decadent dishes. With its sweet and succulent meat, lobster has long been a popular item with diners, and when people understand that you don’t need to over-adulterate it while cooking, we end with a flavorful dish that tastes first and foremost of lobster. It’s an amazing thought, I know, but when it comes to cooking, so many of us are prone to overdo the seasoning.
When discussing lobster with my students, though, it is imperative that we discuss price. After all, lobster can be downright expensive, especially when considering the yield, which is the amount of actual, edible meat that is typically pulled from a whole live lobster. Considering that you can take the total weight and divide by four (yes, 25 percent yield is correct … staggering but correct) to get your yield, it doesn’t take a mathematician to at least assume that it’s going to be exorbitant.
But with a little practice, you will find that you can use the shells for bisque, or roast them and make an amazing lobster butter for enriching seafood soups. All of a sudden you have utilized the whole beast for something more than a cute little arterial-blocking snack, and the hefty price tag won’t seem as drastic.
For the recipe I’m sharing with you below, I use “Potlatch Seafood Seasoning,” which is a Williams-Sonoma product. It is worth investing in, as it will do two things. First, it will give you another choice besides JO and Old Bay (the former that I love and the latter that I could go a lifetime never tasting again). Second, it will offer your foods a sweetness and complexity that you can’t get out of our two local blends.
Either way, playing with fresh lobster can be a challenge for some cooks, but it’s something that I love to do. And eating it at the end isn’t a bad thing at all, either. Oh, sweet lobster.
Lobster-Bacon Sliders
Makes 16 sliders
2 pounds lobster meat or 8 pounds fresh lobster
1/4 cup finely diced celery
3 Tbsp. finely minced red onion    
1 Tbsp. Potlatch Seafood Seasoning*
2 tsp. Lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
Mayonnaise, as needed
Chopped fresh tarragon, to taste
16 pieces of crispy cooked bacon
16 King’s Hawaiian Savory Butter Ro
1. If you bought lobster meat, simply chop into bite-sized pieces and gently squeeze to remove some water. This prevents the salad from becoming too watery
2. Make a court bouillon (poaching liquid) by adding lemons, thyme sprigs, white wine, black pepper and onions
3. If you bought fresh lobsters, place a pot of water on the stove large enough for all of the lobsters (otherwise just work in batches)
4. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, dispatch the lobsters by plunging a knife through the carapace midway between the front of the tail and the eyes
5. The lobsters will still move because of nerves, so let them be for a few minutes
6. Before plunging lobsters into the pot, carefully remove rubber bands with a pair of tongs
7. Poach the lobsters for about 8-12 minutes. Times will vary according to the amount of water in the pot, which of course varies with the size of the pot. Thermal mass is a wonderful thing
8. Remove the lobsters and place in an ice bath to shock
9. Pick the lobsters, removing the vein from the tail and making sure to get the knuckle meat
10. Combine chilled lobster meat and the remaining ingredients in the list, adjusting for flavor
11. On your King’s Hawaiian bread, simply pile some lobster salad and a piece of bacon and go for it!