BIG FIN SEAFOOD KITCHEN LOBSTER 101
Maine lobster, also known as the American Lobster (Lobster Americanus), is found in the waters between Eastern Canada and North Carolina. They are referred to as Maine lobster because more than half are caught of the coast of Maine. The other kind of live lobster common to American waters is the “spiny” lobster or rock lobster. The Rock Lobster is caught along the southern Atlantic coast and off the coast of California. While the Maine Lobster has extremely large claws, the spiny lobster has tiny claws and is usually marketed as uncooked frozen tails. Due to the cold waters, Maine lobster meat is known for its sweet, delicious flavor and tender texture.
Live Maine lobster is available year-round with the summer and fall being the time where the majority of the lobsters are harvested. In the winter months many lobstermen pull their traps to avoid damage and danger of northern cyclones known as Nor’easters. The price of lobster, like most prices, is ruled by supply and demand. Lobster prices usually rise at the start of Memorial Day and drop as the season ends with Labor Day weekend. May and September are good times to buy hard-shell lobsters.
Lobsters grow by molting, or shedding their shells. Just after they molt, they are soft and fragile until their new shell hardens. (It takes about 25 molts over 5-7 years for a lobster to grow to a minimum legal size, 1 pound.) Newly molted lobsters are called soft-shell or “new shell” lobsters. It is important to be aware of the quality and price of soft-shell lobsters. Soft-Shell lobsters have less meat in proportion to total body weight than hard-shell lobsters. Hard-shell meat is firmer, while soft-shell meat is softer and tends to have more water.
When the lobsters are removed from the traps, a colored rubber band is put around each claw. This is referred to as “banding or being banded.” The rubber band is there solely for your safety!
Live Lobsters are blue-green in color with reddish brown hues. When cooked, all of the pigments except for the red (astaxantbin) are hidden. Besides the typical colored lobster, there are also red, blue, yellow and white specimens, but they are rare. One out of every 30 million lobsters is born with a blue shell.
Maine Lobster has less cholesterol, calories, and saturated fats than lean beef, skinless chicken and pork. Lobster is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to reduce hardening of the arteries and risk of heart disease. Lobster is also high in amino acids, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, vitamin A, and the various B vitamins.
Live lobster can be boiled, steamed, grilled, or baked. Most people eat the meat located in the tail, claws, and knuckles, but meat can also be found in parts of the body and legs. The red material in the tail section is the coral “roe” or the female eggs and is considered a delicacy. The greenish material in the cavity of the body is the “tomalley”, which is actually the liver, and has a very unique “peppery” taste. Many chefs use the tomalley in recipes and as flavoring to items such as sauces and pastas.
People tend to argue about the proper way to kill a lobster before cooking it. Unlike a lot of the animal species that we consume, Lobsters do not have a central nervous system but rather a ganglionic nervous system so they do not feel “pain.” The supposed “screaming” of the lobster while it cooks is actually the sound of steam escaping from the lobster’s shell.
Cooking a lobster longer than the recommended times usually makes the meat too tough. When properly cooked, lobster meat is a creamy white, shells are bright red and the two front antennae pull out easily. A 1-2 pound whole lobster serves one person. A pound of meat can be removed from four to six lobsters weighing 1.25 pounds (typical market size). Approximately two cups of lobster meat equals one pound.
Check out Big Fin Seafood Kitchen today for the best lobsters in Orlando. Reservations by calling 407-615-8888.
- The best way to keep lobster alive at home is to refrigerate them and cover with a damp cloth or newspaper.
- Do not immerse lobster in fresh water (in the sink or bathtub) or allow them to sit in melted ice. When transferring lobsters, pick them up by the body not the claws.
- Do not remove rubber bands until after lobsters have been cooked.
- Whole, cooked lobsters should have their tails curled, a sign that they were alive when cooked.