With Simon Rhodes, of the Lobster Pot Fishmongers in Wood Street Food Hall
Well, what can be said of these crustaceans of the deep?
At the high end of the restaurant market, they command a high price which can nearly double towards Christmas and Easter.
Feeding on other fish and molluscs at the bottom of the ocean, lobsters have a white, sweet flesh that is succulent and much sought after by people in the restaurant trade.
Lobster Thermidor is the most popular recipe. Originating in a Parisian restaurant in the late 1800s, it took its name from the play Thermidor by Victorien Sardou.
The dish is created using egg yolks, brandy, cream and mustard powder, which makes the sauce. The lobster meat is then put into the sauce and returned to the shell and placed under the grill with a little cheese (usually parmesan) on top.
Many versions of this dish have been created using crayfish tails, langoustine and other shellfish. However, you cant beat the original recipe, which was made very popular in the 1970s.
Lately there have been many discussions as to the best way to treat the lobster before boiling. One the most humane ways is to place it in the freezer for about half an hour immediatley prior to boiling. Another is to drive a sharp knife down from the top of its head and through the brain.
I believe they have also just invented an electrode to to render the lobster unconscious, as apparently it has been discovered it has feelings and suffers from anxiety... try being a fishmonger!
Boiling takes about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size, and they should be cooled down quickly straight afterwards.
I do stock lobsters but it is always best to pre order them if you are planning a special dinner party or meal. I can supply them already cooked or alive.
I have two types; natives from our shores or from Maine across the Atlantic which are flown over from the USA.
In the States they love lobster so much that they have restaurants that just serve lobster, and naturally they are cheaper and more abundant over there.
We do have conservation areas for lobsters here in the UK. One in particular, in Padstow, is leading the way in cultivating them and reintroducing them at sea, giving them a better chance of survival.
We are still (just) in the BBQ season so why not give lobster a go by brushing each half of the cooked lobster with some herb or garlic butter and grilling for a couple of minutes? This will certainly impress your guests.