Picking And Preparing Lobster Dishes
Lobster is no longer merely served at five-star restaurants and traditional seafood establishments. According to the Wall Street Journal, these savory crustaceans have begun to pop up in big box grocery stores and popular sandwich chains. As an extension of that, notions of how lobster can be cooked and served are also changing, with new and modernized recipes emerging in restaurants the world over. For those enrolled in culinary school, now is the perfect time to get familiar with lobster as to better serve a truly hungry consumer base.
How to buy the perfect lobster
There are a numerous factors involved in selecting that perfect lobster, notes The Food Lab. At most fish markets in the U.S., patrons predominantly buy soft-shell Maine lobsters, which have a sweeter taste. Other options offer more varied taste, including Caribbean spiny lobsters (where most individual tails are procured from), the smaller, but meatier South African lobster and Brazilian lobsters, which are noted for a robust flavor. Regardless of the species, the liveliness or freshness of a lobster is always vital; because lobsters release an enzyme near death that spoils the meat, go for the healthy choice, which includes solid coloring (ranging from vivid red to dark blue) and unencumbered movement. There’s other aspects to consider, like difficulty of shucking (soft-shells are obviously easier) and the overall size (the average lobster weighs 3 pounds).
As lobsters have gained in popularity, they’ve increasingly become the centerpiece of a true American staple, the sandwich. In fact, the lobster roll has been a staple for some time, with the standard recipe calling for butter, lettuce, lemon juice, basil, onions and mayo, which results in a savory paste with the comparable pliability of tuna fish. However, as is the case with most sandwiches, the appeal becomes about adding personalized twists. For some, that means more basic ingredients, with pickles, pineapples and bits of avocado enhancing the natural flavors. Others, meanwhile, take it further, using varied breads (onion bagels and garlic bread are options) or unique condiments like hot or buffalo sauce, melted garlic butter or even chili sauce.
Lobster pizza can be just as varied in regards to toppings and pairings. Some chefs keep it basics did CopyKat when they recreated the pizza sold at Red Lobster. It’s a pretty standard offering, with emphasis on mozzarella, garlic and basil, while Roma tomatoes are used for the sauce. As opposed to standard dough, try using tortillas; the grainy texture is a nice compliment to the airy lobster meat. Meanwhile, others are more adventurous: Half Baked Harvest whipped up a lobster pizza with spinach, bacon and fontina (an Italian cheese noted for its earthy taste). Despite perceptions, it’s a blending of several nuanced flavors that work well together, united by a nice brown butter sauce. Of course, lobster can also be spun into other pizza staples, including into a meat lover’s pizza (traditionally bacon, ham and pepperoni), anything featuring roasted vegetables, and pizzas cooked using Alfredo sauce.
To better understand and experiment with lobster, enroll in culinary academy and start mastering other savory dishes.