Astice alla griglia (Grilled Lobster)

It seems I can’t get enough of grilled seafood! We’ve already featured grilled fish, grilled mollusk and grilled cephalopod, so let’s complete the series with grilled crustacean, which may be the most delicious of them all. Here in the US, we are blessed with an abundance of lobster and, much to the chagrin of lobstermen, a lobster glut this year means that prices are at an all-time low. I’m not sure if the trend will last, but if it does, it may mean a return to lobster’s original status as poor man’s food, at least in North America. 
In any event, lobster has got to be one of the finest foods on this good Earth. The sweet taste of lobster meat is a real treat, and grilling is a great way to intensify its flavor. It’s a far better way to prepare lobster, in my humble opinion, than the far more common technique on this side of the Atlantic, boiling. You need to be bold, however, as lobster is one of the few foods left that you buy while still alive, and your crustacean friend has to be put out of his or her misery. A swift incision between the eyes with a sharp knife while you pin the fella down will do the trick. For the squeamish, a slight less gruesome way to say good-bye is to plunge the beast in boiling water for a minute or two.
Either way, split the lobster in two, shell and all, from head to tail with a heavy knife. (If you have par-boiled the lobster, be careful, and this will release lots of hot water when the shell cracks open; make sure to drain the animal well.) Then drizzle the insides of the animal with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and let it marinate for just a few minutes. 
Grill the lobster halves, cut side down, for 5 minutes, then cut side up (adding a bit more marinade) for another 5 minutes. The exact timing will depend, of course, on the size of your lobster; for doneness, check to see that the tail flesh is opaque and quite firm to the touch.
Now serve the lobster in its shell, with a bit more marinade drizzled on top. A large lobster should serve two people if served as part of an Italian-style meal of multiple courses. A small lobster feeds one. 
In North America, corn is a very common accompaniment to lobster. As part of an Italian meal, I think a sformatino di mais (individual corn puddings) makes a delightful contorno or perhaps an antipasto. The recipe for that will be coming soon….
I called him Felix…
NOTE: In Italian, by the way, there are two words that translate, more or less, as the English word lobster: astice and aragosta. The second is the one you are more likely to see on menus in Italian restaurants, but, in fact, astice is probably the better translation for North American lobster. You see, the difference between the two, which sometimes confuses even Italians, is that the astice has claws, while the aragosta does not. Here in North America, all our lobster (as far as I am aware) is claw-bearing. 

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12 Responses to “Astice alla griglia (Grilled Lobster)”

  1. Dots
    5 December 2012 at 12:23 #

    The Florida Lobsters are not claws bearing. The Maine lobsters are.

  2. 19 August 2012 at 21:39 #

    It's an experience every cook should try at least once…

  3. 19 August 2012 at 21:38 #

    Sure thing, Nancy!

  4. 19 August 2012 at 21:38 #

    Definitely worth it.

  5. 19 August 2012 at 21:37 #

    Thanks for the tip, Linda!

  6. 17 August 2012 at 17:12 #

    Had lobster twice a day in Maine and now back in MN, cannot get my fill! But – I will confess – I have yet to personally kill the little guys.

  7. 17 August 2012 at 15:17 #

    Oh yes, lobster is one of the very best food on earth! Your photos are making me hate living in a landlocked country with no fresh seafood. Needless to say I've never cooked my own lobster. Maybe next time you grill some I can come over?;) Have a great weekend Frank!

  8. 16 August 2012 at 15:02 #

    I'm glad you mentioned the knife cut in between the eyes to dispatch them quickly – personally I think it's a much more humane way than boiling alive. And I am kicking myself that I haven't taken advantage of the low prices yet … Sounds like a weekend plan!

  9. 14 August 2012 at 08:16 #

    Why haven't I had any lobster this summer? My mouth is watering looking at your photo. By the way, if you're squeamish about inserting that knife, I heard that putting them in the freezer for a little bit of time before cooking will do the trick too.

  10. 13 August 2012 at 09:54 #

    You're welcome!

  11. 12 August 2012 at 09:39 #

    I'm with you Frank, I can't get enough seafood, and lobster is at the top of my list! And thanks for clearing up the aragosta and the astice thing, I have always wondered about that!

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