The main course we cooked at the chef masterclass with Marty Chichester meant I got to not only cook, but eat an entire lobster – all to myself!! Talk about a very special treat.
The meat was delicate and perfectly cooked (not thanks to my skills – but to very good instruction) – and the garlic butter complemented the sweetness of the flesh. We also cooked chilli mud crab (which I know is one of my dad’s favourite dishes – I’m sure he’ll be thrilled that I now know how to cook it!)
But, more about the crab tomorrow.
As we all know, lobster is really expensive – so you want to make sure you know what you’re doing. I think you’d be heartbroken if you served it, and it was rubbery and tasted like rubbish.
Marty gave us some great tips about cooking lobster:
- Put your live, uncooked lobster in the freezer for 20 minutes before you cook it. This puts the lobster to “sleep”. Apparently they kick and make a big miss if you pop them in boiling water while they’re still alive. Let’s face it – it’s cruel. Putting them in the freezer is the most humane way of cooking them.
- Cook a medium to large-sized lobster in boiling water for about 7 minutes. At the end of the 7 minutes, plunge it into a sink filled with ice water. This brings the temperature right down, stopping the cooking process. This will not cook the lobster all the way through – just enough for it to hold together when you cut it in half, lengthways. You finish the cooking after adding your flavourings, in an oven or under a griller. This ensures you don’t over cook the lobster and make it rubbery.
- After you have cut your lobster lengthways – you have to clean out the innards (or mustard, as some people call it – I’m guessing because of the colour). You can eat it – but I have no desire to. Now you really do need to get in with your hands and scoop it out – you could use a spoon, but I don’t think it would work that well. Marty said that no matter how tempted you are, don’t wash the lobster. Like with the oysters I wrote about yesterday, it washes away all the great flavours. You also need to remove the waste tract which goes through the tail. It looks much like the vein in a prawn – just bigger.
Now that the yucky stuff is done the fun stuff begins. It was great to learn all the above tips. It was all the things I was so nervous about. But, now I know I can tackle a lobster with confidence – and I’m sure the recipes will flow now. Well, I might have to save up to buy a lobster – but I think now that I have some idea of what I am doing, it’ll be a worthwhile investment.
Grilled Lobster with Garlic and Herb Butter
2 whole live lobsters – about 600 to 800gm each
150gm of unsalted butter (room temperature)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 a bunch of parsley
2 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 tsp of capers, chopped
A squeeze of lemon juice
Mix chopped ingredients into the softened butter and then put to one side.
Put the live lobsters in the freezer for 20 mins (as stated above).
Plunge the lobster into boiling water for 7 minutes. Once the time is up, place into ice water.
Once cooled, cut the lobster lengthways through the middle and then clean out the waste from the head as well as the waste tract (as stated above).
The flesh should look rare – so quite white on the outside parts near the shell, but quite translucent towards the middle. This is what you want to ensure the lobster isn’t overcooked under the grill.
Season well with salt and pepper and then smother the flesh liberally with the butter mixture. This will protect the flesh from the heat of the grill and allow the butter, garlic and herbs to seep into the flesh. This can be done in advance, with the rest of the process to be completed when ready to serve.
Place under a grill and cook until lightly browned in colour. This should take only 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a 180-degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked through and tender.
I have to admit, I did eat the whole lobster – so with two lobsters for this recipe, it serves two. But for an entree serve – half per person would be plenty. Tomorrow I’ll share with you a brilliant crispy apple salad – and of course, the delicious chilli crab.
I just can’t wait to get my hands on another lobster and make this again. Soooo yum!!
If you’re feeling inspired to do a masterclass, why not check out the Oakdene Vineyard website and find out about Marty’s masterclasses. You won’t be disapointed