The Downtown Chef: ...Takes a Trip Up the Coast
If you haven’t taken a drive up the Maine coast, it’s time you rent an overpriced Honda Civic, grab your loved one and head north. Sure, the city has plenty of half-naked, cigarette-smoking, tall, skinny girls in search of “ a good show” and a little summer love, but coastal Maine is lined with cozy bed and breakfasts and ocean schooners carrying city folk out to sea at sunset.
That $8.25 you just spent on a pack of Parliaments at the bodega will buy you a pound and a quarter lobster up there. And if you’re wondering how to eat it, well maybe it’s time you strap on a pair and get friendly with what many refer to as the “cockroach of the sea.”
Once upon a time in Maine, lobsters were pulled from the ocean floor and fed to prisoners three or four times a week. A limit was set for fear that too much ingestion of these strange crustaceans would kill a man. Today, New York restaurant menus read “Maine lobster: market price” which means two things: most expensive thing on the menu and may vary. Each cage can only accommodate one guest, because lobsters have cannibalistic tendencies. This limits the number available to the market. If you haven’t noticed, one claw is larger and jagged, used for grasping prey, while the other is long, straight and sharp, used for cutting, which facilitates digestion. Each year, the lobster outgrows and sheds its shell as if it were taking off a sweater. It then swells and hardens and behold, a heavier and more expensive lobster is ready for the catching.
Boiled Maine Lobster (serves 2)
2 and a quarter pounds of lobsters
1 large pot
1 stick butter
Fill a large pot one quarter full with water. Salt it till you can taste it. Bring it to a boil. Toss in the lobster. Listen to it scream. Wait till the water reaches a boil. Eight minutes. Warm butter in a small saucepan. Remove lobster (with tongs you fool).
There is an art to eating this down-east delicacy: First, tear off the claws, crack open the knuckles and take the meat out with a small fork. Then smash the claws and work out the flesh. Suck the legs dry with your teeth and tongue and then twist off the tail. Rinse the green guy under running water and release the tail meat. Butter it up if you like and really get into it.