Lobster prices are as low as they’ve been in years, said Melissa Clark in The New York Times. So the “only sensible thing to do” is to run to the fish store and pick up a couple of bargain crustaceans. The reason for the low prices? Lobstermen recently have been making record catches, and until last fall the excess “was funneled to Canadian processing plants” that sold them to chain restaurants. But the sinking economy has forced such plants to shut down. At least temporarily, “that means cheaper lobsters for you and me.” Traditional boiled lobster served with melted butter is hard to improve upon, but here are two recipes if you’re willing to experiment—now that you can afford to.
Recipes of the week
Sautéed Lobster With Oyster Mushrooms and Ginger
3 tbsp peanut or safflower oil
2 inches ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
6 oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 oz maitake or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup sliced scallions, white and light green parts only
Two 1¼–1½ lb boiled or steamed lobsters, meat removed and cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp soy sauce, more to taste
2 tsp rice wine vinegar, more to taste
1½ tsp sesame oil
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in mushrooms and scallions; cook, tossing occasionally, until soft and golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in lobster, stock, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil. Cook until most of liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in cilantro; serve immediately, over rice if you like. Serves 4.
Broiled Lobster With Cajun Butter
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp kosher salt
1½ tsp cayenne pepper
1½ tsp paprika
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ tsp onion powder
¾ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp mustard powder
4 live lobsters, about 1½ lbs each
Preheat broiler. Arrange oven rack 4 inches from heat source. To make Cajun butter, stir together all ingredients except lobsters in small bowl. Place lobsters in bag in freezer for 15 minutes to slow their metabolism. Place a lobster on its back. Using sharp knife and quick movement, slice lobster in half lengthwise from head to tip of tail. Grab both sides of shell and split open body, cracking through its hard back. Scoop out gray-green innards. Use back of heavy knife to crack open both claws. Repeat with remaining lobsters. (A fishmonger can do this if lobster meat is then cooked within an hour.)
Arrange lobsters in single layer in large roasting pan (or use 4 large gratin dishes). Coat body and claw meat generously with Cajun butter. Broil, basting once halfway through with pan juices, until lobster meat is cooked through and slightly charred, about 12 minutes. Remove lobsters from oven. Spoon pan juices over lobsters and serve. Serves 4.
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