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 lobster, 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.
- 1 whole lobster, freshly killed
- Olive oil
- Freshly squeezed juice of a lemon
- Salt and pepper
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 grilled lobster. As part of an Italian meal, I think a sformatino di mais (individual corn puddings) makes a delightful contorno or perhaps an antipasto.
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. But no matter, you can make grilled lobster with either variety.