A recent Harris Poll of 1,000 adults asked the question, “Is lobster the food of Romantics on Valentine’s Day?” More than 42 percent answered with a resounding “Yes.”
For a long as people can remember, it has always been a tradition that many people consider lobster the most romantic of all meals. Lobster is often the dish of choice for celebrations and holidays and now we know it extends to romance.
A spokesman was quoted by the study explaining that “Lobster is the perfect dish for a Romantic, or Special Occasion dinner out. It is an exotic delicacy that results in an intimate moment between loved ones because Lobster is hand-held and shareable. Shellfish, especially lobster, is a catalyst for connection like no other food.”
Valentines Day Lobster Dinner
Oysters are traditional delicacies that are also served as part of a romantic Valentine’s Day meal. Oysters are known to be aphrodisiacs in many cultures. A good reason why these delicate shellfish are the perfect choice for Valentines Day dinners. Raw oysters on the half shell with ice cold champagne makes the perfect appetizer.
Lobsters this year can be ordered online and are available for delivery anywhere in the united states on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2016.
No matter how you prepare them, Maine lobsters are a gourmet treat any time of year. But at Christmas, lobster is often celebrated as the Christmas Eve dinner main course.
For some hungry family members, the bigger the Christmas lobster is, the better. A few jumbo lobster recipe cooking tips may help.
In just a few days Christmas Eve chefs all across the country will boil, steam, bake or grill Maine lobster. But cooking those jumbo lobster to satisfy family members can be tricky. Care must be taken not to overcook, or the meat will toughen. Under-cook a jumbo lobster and the lobster will not have its succulent flavor.
Given this challenge, even experienced cooks may be surprised to learn that that the lobster antennae can play a role in helping chefs determine when a whole lobster is cooked and ready to take out of the steam pot.
Steve, a former Downeast Maine lobster fisherman who now lives in North Port, Florida, recently shared with Lobsters-Online an experience he had with jumbo lobster. He says timing how long a big lobster cooks is not always accurate as those on the bottom may cook faster than those on the top. To double check if a lobster is done, Steve firmly stands by the practice of giving a pull on the lobster antenna. If the antennae pops off easily, the lobster is done. If it stays on, the lobster needs to cook a little longer.
“I have cooked thousands of lobsters of all sizes. Giving a slight tug on the antenna has worked for over 50 years for me.”
“I was a lobster fisherman back in the 70s,” Steve said. “I have cooked thousands of lobsters of all sizes. Giving a slight tug on the antenna has worked for over 50 years for me.”
Steve said once for his birthday at a restaurant he ordered a giant 13-pound lobster for himself and a 10-pound lobster for his sister.
“When the waitress brought them to my table I gave the antenna a slight tug and the whole lobster came with it,” Steve said. “I told the waitress that they where not cooked and asked her to take them back and have them cook them some more . The cook then came out to my table with the manager and he told me that if they cook it anymore that it will be tough.”
Steve said he then broke the 10-pound lobster open and showed everyone that the meat was not fully cooked. The manager apologized and took them back to cook some more.
“I told the manager about the antenna on the lobster breaking loose when it was done,” Steve said. “He came back to my table with the lobster and I gave the antenna a tug and it came off . I opened up the lobster and cut a piece of the tail and gave it to the manager and he agreed that it was tender and that it was cooked just right .”
“Cooking lobsters according to time tables does not work all the time and they can be raw or become over cooked,” he said, adding that it is also important to move the lobsters around in the pot to make sure they cook more evenly.
No holiday is more New England than Thanksgiving. The holiday dinner is based on Pilgrim lore. So adding a first course of steamed Maine lobster served in the shell with nutmeg vinaigrette and chestnut puree would add a wonderful dimension to the Thanksgiving tradition. Not to mention being a big hit for guests and family.
The lobster recipe is from Boston celebrity Chef Todd English who is on the record for being a big fan of Thanksgiving day lobster. The recipe first appeared in Food and Wine Magazine. It is recommended that the nutmeg vinaigrette and chestnut puree be prepared the day before. The lobster recipe calls for 10 1-1/4 pound live lobsters steamed, and then halved with the lobster meat served in the shell.
The recipe will serve 20 people.
2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
2 cups apple cider
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Two 15-ounce cans whole chestnuts packed in water, drained
In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup of the stock with the cider, shallots, bay leaves and sherry vinegar. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add the heavy cream and nutmeg and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the remaining 1 cup of stock and the chestnuts and simmer until the liquid reduces by a third, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the maple syrup and butter. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and puree until smooth. Blend in the crème fraîche. Transfer the puree to a clean saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
Gently reheat the nutmeg vinaigrette. Add the scallions and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Cut the lobster tail meat into 1-inch chunks and replace it in the tail sections of the lobsters. Spoon half of the chestnut puree in the center of each of 2 large platters. Arrange the lobster halves around the puree. Spoon the warm nutmeg vinaigrette over the lobsters, garnish the platters with the greens and serve at once.
MAKE AHEAD The lobster recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Finish the vinaigrette and rewarm the chestnut puree before serving.
SELECTING A WINE The natural saltiness of lobster, as with any seafood, will amplify the flavor of a big fruity Chardonnay. Go with a first course Chardonnay that is gently touched with fruit, and mostly un-oaked.
While the New England Lobster feast is a year round tradition older than America itself, New England seafood was a part of the first Thanksgiving. According to historical lore, the pilgrims first learned about the lobster from Native Americans.
In a letter home to England in 1621, the Pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote of how they fished, hunted and brought in the harvest to set out a feast for the entire pilgrim company and guests, including the Indian King Massasoit and 90 Indians. Winslow wrote that the feast lasted for five days. The Winslow letter was published in England in 1622 causing great excitement and helping to start the tradion of a Thanksgiving feast.
So while turkey has center stage today, the pilgrims first feast gave the lobster clambake a starring role with the turkey. For many New Englanders, the lobster is an alternative part of Thanksgiving.
The story is told about how seven Nationally known Boston Chefs eschewed the turkey one year and took the pilgrim lobster tradition to their Thanksgiving Holiday table. An article in Food and Wine Magazine published more than a decade ago tells the story of how the chef’s and their families got together at Lydia Shire’s (Biba, Towne Stove) farmhouse home in Weston, Massachusetts and created a “potluck extravaganza” to revolutionize Thanksgiving dinner.
Chef Todd English (Olives, Figs) brought the lobster and served it in its shell with a warm, creamy nutmeg vinaigrette and a chestnut puree. Every chef contributed, including Jody Adams (Rialto), Gordon Hamersley (Hammersley Bistro), Susan Regis (Biba), Chris Schlesinger (East Coast Grill), and Jasper White (Jaspers, Summer Shack). The menu included the lobster, cod, oysters, pumpkin soup, turkey and more.
While this menu would be overwhelming for most home kitchens, the tradition of holiday feasts with all the wonderful seafood from the cold, clean New England waters can be part of any family celebration this year. Thanksgiving Dinner can be extra special by serving fresh lobster and shellfish. The best part is you no longer have to go to Plimouth Plantation, Cape Cod or Maine to enjoy Maine lobster. Thanks to an online retail lobster delivery service, live Maine lobster can be shipped overnight to any home in the United States.
Lobster Fra Diavolo, the dish by which all other seafood dishes are judged! Be forewarned, preparing this seafood feast it not for the feint of heart. But the wonderful culinary rewards are worth it.
To introduce our dish, you should know that “Diavolo” is Italian for devil. As a culinary term it is used to describe a tomato based sauce that is liberally spiced, with “Fra Diavolo” the Italian term for brother devil: a spicy sauce prepared with linguine and fresh seafood.
Our dish calls for preparing a homemade lobster stock made from fresh Maine Lobster. A favorite of Boston’s North End, the Boston Lobster Fra Diavolo recipe will feature lobster, clams and mussels and take four and one-half (4 ½) hours to prepare both the homemade lobster stock and the sauce. The recipe will serve four to six people.
The first step is to prepare the lobster stock. This begins by blanching the live lobsters, cracking the claws and tails and removing the meat. Set the lobster meat aside. Please see the directions for the lobster stock preparation below.
Bring 1-gallon of salted water in large pot to a boil and add the pasta to the pot. Partially cook for 5 minutes, drain and drizzle with olive oil. Set aside. While cooking the pasta, place a 14-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onions to the pan and cook until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red pepper flakes and sauté about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook the ingredients until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Add the clams to the pan, cover and cook about three minutes. Add the mussels to the pan, cover and cook about three minutes. Add the lobster to the pan and cook for two minutes. Add the parsley to the pan. Add the partially cooked pasta to the pan. Add 1 ½ cup of the lobster stock and continue to cook. Toss the pasta in the sauce until al dente, about four to five minutes. Season the pasta with the salt and toss again. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
Par boil lobster for five minutes, cool and remove meat from claws and tails
Add lobster body, cracked claw and tail shells
1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 celery ribs, cut in quarters
2 tomatoes, chopped coarsely
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 small fennel bulb
1 small head garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions Lobster Stock
Heat vegetable oil in large stock pot. Add the empty lobster claw and tail shells and stir. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, tomatoes and thyme. Cut the fennel and garlic bulbs in half and add to the pot. Cover ingredients with two inches of water. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until mixture is reduced by half (about 4 hours). Add salt and black pepper to season. Strain stock and set liquid aside.
The recipe screams to be served with a sparkling Rose Champagne or a light, traditional Chianti.
Boiling a Maine lobster is the easiest way to cook and serve a whole lobster and a boiled lobster is easier to pick clean. When you have that large picnic or party and the kettle is kept full all day with lobster, boiling is just so much easier. But steaming a lobster often yields the best results for eating.
Here’s why: steaming is a more gentle process of cooking the meat and it preserves more flavor and tenderness. Steaming a lobster is also more forgiving on the chef since it is harder to overcook a lobster in a steam pot. For true lobster lovers, steaming is the way to go.
So let’s get started.
First step is to order some freshly caught, hard shell Maine lobster. Hard shells are recommended as the lobsters are usually stronger and healthier and the hard shell lobster will have the most meat.
Then choose a big four to five-gallon kettle or pot with a tight lid. This size pot should be able to easily handle up to eight pounds of lobster. Remember, don’t crowd the lobster into the pot or you will get uneven results. It is best to have the right size pot.
Add two to three inches of sea water to the cover the bottom of the pot. If you don’t have access to the Atlantic Ocean, don’t worry. Use filtered fresh water and add lots of sea salt: one to two tablespoons per quart.
Place a steaming rack inside the pot and use high heat to bring the water to a rolling boil. If you wish, you may remove the rubber lobster claw bands. Place the live lobster one at a time and head first into the pot and cover. Start timing the lobster and do not overcook.
Hard Shell Weight*
35-45 (or more) minutes
*Reduce time by 3 minutes for soft shell lobster.
Half way through the allotted cook time, open the lid and move the lobster around in the pot. It is important to shift the lobster so they all cook evenly. If necessary, you may add a little more water but no more salt is required.
The most important step for all lobster chefs is determining when the lobsters are done. The first rule, do not to overcook the lobster. A lobster shell will be bright red when fully cooked and the meat white.
So what’s the best way to tell when the lobsters are done?
Care must be taken with large lobster as they will be red but they may not be fully cooked. And a lobster in the top of the pot may not have cooked as fast as one at the bottom.
One popular practice is to give one of the lobster antennae a good pull while the lobster is still in the steamer pot. If the antenna pops off, it is a good sign the lobster is done. Another step is to use tongs to remove one lobster and cut a small slice at the bottom of the tail. If the meat is fully changed form translucent to white, it’s done. Note: The lobster will continue to cook for a minute even after it’s taken out of the pot, so again, do not overcook.
Allow steamed lobster to drain for a minute. You may pierce the body and tail with a knife to help drain the water. Then serve the lobster right away with a side of melted butter and a slice of lemon. To make eating fun and easy, serve with lobster bib and steel cracker accessory kits.
We are having a family feast for Labor Day 2017. The guests of honor, as it always is for the Labor Day Holiday, is the Wellfleet Oyster and fresh Maine Lobster.
The late Howard Mitcham, a renowned chef that called Provincetown, Cape Cod home, called the Wellfleet Oyster the best in the world. In his book, entitled “Clams, Mussels and Oysters …” Mitcham wrote that the flavor of oysters varies widely from region to region. And as anyone who has eaten a raw Oyster knows, the flavor is complex. Oysters can be sweet, salty, earthy, or even melon.
After last Saturday, two dozen Wellfleet Oysters later, we are in complete agreement with Mitcham that the Wellfleet Oyster is the most succulent, sweet oyster in the world. The clean, crisp, cold Cape Cod waters help produce a wonderful abundance of Wellfleet Oysters, and they are prized by locals and visitors alike.
Interestingly, the Wellfleet Oyster is a transplant from Connecticut and the Chesapeake Bay. After Cape Cod oysters were nearly fished out in the 1800s, the Wellfleet locals introduced young southern oysters into their waters. The oysters were fattened up on sparkling clean river estuaries and then harvested and sold in Boston. This created the first aquaculture, as it is known today. The result was a lucrative success for the harvesters and a joy to the taste buds for the rest of us.
Experts believe the cold water and the 12-foot tides combine to help make the Wellfleet oyster plump and sweet by providing them with ample, ocean-fresh plankton.
Generations later, the flavor of a Wellfleet Oyster is as distinct as Cape Cod itself. Today, people all over the country order Wellfleet Oysters and have the oysters delivered right to their door as fresh as if they were just purchased from a Cape Cod market.
Some people are intimidated by the challenge of opening an oyster. And everyone has their own special technique. But there some basic steps and advice that proves true.
When selecting an oyster from a fish market bin, try to pick the ones that have a very hard shell as opposed to oysters with a brittle shell. A hard shell usually signifies a plump, healthy oyster inside. Make sure to keep the oysters cool when you bring them home.
Get a good oyster knife as no other kind of knife will work. You will need one old work glove or a heavy hand towel to hold the oyster with. When ready to open, scrub the oysters under fresh running water to remove any sand but do not immerse them in water. Place them on ice or on a flat pan in a refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow them to rest. This will allow the oysters to relax and make them easier to open.
Hold the oyster with flat side up. Place the knife at the small end of the oyster, or the heel. Press the knife into the heel and twist. If it is too hard to open, some folks will hold the oyster and knife vertically and then tap the base of the knife handle on a cutting board or stone. This drives the knife with a good nudge into the muscle and makes it easer to pop open the shell. Try not to spill the oyster juices. Once open, slice under the muscle to cut the oyster from the bottom shell and place the opened oyster shell on a plate of crushed ice. This keeps the oyster level and cold. Serve immediately.
The traditional serving is with a side of fresh lemon, cocktail sauce and horseradish. A robust red wine compliments the complex flavor of the Wellfleet Oyster nicely. Most adults can eat a dozen or more, so be sure to order enough.
This time of Summer theCape Cod“Day Boat” fishermen are arriving back in port each day carrying their precious catch of seafood treasure: the tender, sweetCapesea scallop. All summer these small commercial vessels – or Day Boats – harvest fromCape CodandNantucketBaythe precious Capesea scallop that locals love.
Chef’s all overNew Englandprize the delicate,Capesea scallop for its exceptional delicious flavor and plumpness. The day boat scallops are a true renowned delicacy. No where else in the world can these clean, sweet, succulent scallops be found.
From June or July through early Fall the day boats will harvest the wild-caught scallops from the pristineCape Cod andNantucket bay waters and sell them straight to local buyers where the scallops are processed and sent out to fine restaurants and seafood retailers. As popular as Maine Lobster this time of year, the scallops are so prized by locals, that mostCapesea scallops never get the chance to leaveNew England. Cape CodandBostonrestaurants have a long standing tradition of offering freshly caughtCapesea scallops.
The Lobsters-Online.Com fulfillment facility — located in Bourne,MassachusettsonCape Cod— processes the day boat scallops by hand.
“Our sea scallops are true “day boats” sourced daily fromProvincetownHarboronCape Cod,” said Dan Brandt, the Lobster Trap Company domestic seafood buying manager. “The scallops are all natural, shipped dry and chemical free. They are hand shucked and shipped within 24 hours. Our scallops are never processed, treated, or frozen ensuring they are as fresh as if you caught them yourself!”
These sea scallops are so flavorful on their own that local chefs will tell you that if you add more than two ingredients to your recipe, “it’s too much.” Capescallops can be baked, broiled, sautéed or fried. Many folks simply use a hot pan with a bit of butter. Just pat the scallops dry and drop them in a hot pan and let them sizzle for a minute. (Careful: the scallops cook really fast.)
Indeed, the day boat scallops are so highly prized by locals that they are celebrated each September at the Cape Cod Scallop Fest onCape Cod. This year’s event begins Sept. 22, 2017 and will be held at the East Falmouth Fair Grounds. More than 55,000 people are expected to partake in sea scallop dinners, raw bars, craft shows and non stop music.
This time of summer the Atlantic Harpoon swordfish are in season. New England fishermen call it “harpoon” season. The fisherman, or “strikers,” head out to the Western Atlantic Ocean in small fishing boats and actually hunt the ocean surface for the swordfish. When one is spotted near the surface the striker harpoons the big fish by hand. A fish caught this way can range from 150 to 600 pounds.
A striker goes after a Swordfish on a calm day.
Each day the daily catch is brought in and sold to local markets, and the Swordfish steaks usually end up on someone’s plate in less than 24 hours, creating an incredible New England seafood experience for enlightened connoisseurs.
The practice of harpooning swordfish predates industrial scale fishing or “long line fishing” where thousands of baited hooks hang on floated lines that can be more than 30 miles long. The long-line hooks do not discriminate between the type and size of fish caught and experts say the practice in the past has depleted swordfish stocks in some places. International laws are now in place now to limit the catch of the long lines, and these fishermen are closely monitored.
Harpoon swordfish hunters, or “strikers,” take their catch at a much slower, more selective rate. The strikers only go after the large fish that are well past breeding age and avoid baby swordfish in the breeding grounds. The fish are then delivered fresh daily to markets and restaurants in New England. The selective practice presents no threat to swordfish stocks.
While swordfish are found worldwide they are only in season in New England during the summer when the water is warmer. According to research, the big fish tend to congregate where ocean waters have sharp temperature breaks (above 58°F) and where strong ocean currents meet. This creates a turbulent environment where there is abundant food. Along with the strikers, sport fishermen also ply these waters with rod and tackle seeking the big Swordfish.
Whether broiled, baked, grilled or on a kabob, fresh from the ocean swordfish is a favorite of first-time seafood initiates as well as seafood connoisseurs. Swordfish has a meaty texture and mild flavor. Swordfish also offers a low-fat, low-calorie healthy choice for all seafood lovers. Fresh swordfish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals that are good for the heart.
Atlantic Harpoon Swordfish, fresh off the dock, is among the most popular Boston and Cape Cod seafood treats. This time of summer, many downtown restaurants feature day-boat swordfish steaks. In fact, the delicious fish is almost as popular as a specialty steak in Boston steakhouses.
The most popular fresh summer swordfish recipe is also the simplest. Marinated and grilled.
Here is a great recipe for a one-pound, 1 ½ -inch thick fresh swordfish steak.
Mix in a bowl:
a teaspoon of fresh chopped basil,
½ cup of olive oil,
a small clove of chopped fresh garlic,
fresh ground pepper to taste.
If desired, a dash of fresh lime or lemon juice may be added.
Coat the steak and let marinate for one to two hours. Cook on a medium-high grill for four minutes on each side, or until firm to the touch. Only flip the steak once. Do not overcook as the swordfish will get dry very quickly. Remove from the grill and let stand for one minute before partitioning. Leave the skin on when grilling to help keep the fish moist but remove to partition and serve.
Today fresh Atlantic swordfish can be shipped overnight by a Cape Codonline seafood retailer anywhere in the United States. This means anyone – from Florida to Kansas – can enjoy delicious swordfish that only 24 hours earlier were swimming in the clean, crisp ocean waters off Cape Cod.
The Maine lobster clambake with freshly harvested steamer clams is one of those wonderful summertime dinners that locals enjoy up and down the New England coast. But for many people, a basket of freshly cooked steamers can be a fabulous dock-side lunch or dinner all by themselves.
The steamer is a soft shell clam known by many names. Steamers can be called the Ipswich clam, the long neck clam, the belly clam, the fried clam and other not so flattering terms. The shell is soft enough to break with your fingers. Steamers are readily identified because the long neck, or snout, stick out of the shell. They are harvested from saltwater sandbars and saltwater mud flats. The clams live in the sand just below the surface and are famous for “squirting” water when people walk by, making them easy to find.
The best soft shell clams are still harvested by hand and are usually available year round, except when the flats freeze. They are sold daily to markets and stored in mesh bags in large, airy coolers. Although easy to prepare, it is important to follow some basic steps.
Ipswich Steamer Clams Recipe Popular in Boston and Cape Cod
At least one hour before cooking, place the clams in a clean sink (no soap or other residue) and just cover the clams with cold water. Add two drops of white vinegar to the water to help the clams expel any sand they have in their shells. Stir the clams gently and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain the sink flushing any sand residue. This time without vinegar, cover the clams with cold water again, gently stir, and let soak for five minutes. Drain. Discard any clams with broken shells.
Four pounds of freshly dug steamer clams
2 large stalks of fresh celery
2 medium yellow onions
1 stick salted butter
1 fresh lemon
Steamer Clam Preparation:
Clean steamer clams with white vinegar as described
Cut celery stalks into two inch pieces
Cut onions into two inch quarters
Cut lemon into ¼ size wedges
Melt butter and place in ramekins
Add water to large steaming kettle or lobster pot 1/4th of the way up
Bring to roiling boil
Place steamers, onions and celery into pot at the same time and cover
Gently stir clams twice
Cook for 12 minutes until the clam shells open (do not overcook)
Drain broth from the kettle into ramekins.
Squeeze lemon wedges into melted butter
Remove clams from kettle and discard any unopened shells
Note: Dip to wash clam in broth and then use the fingers to remove the membrane covering the neck. Most people will eat the entire clam, while some leave the neck. Dip clam in the melted butter and enjoy. As an aside, don’t forget that day boat scallops are now in season and can be ordered for home delivery.