LOBSTER APOCALYPSE: WSJ Food Writer Calls for Radical Escalation in War On ShellfishPosted: August 1, 2014
Know Your Enemy
1. Cup of drawn butter
2. Plastic bib
3. Fistful of moist towelettes
— from the Lobster Self-Defense Handbook
For WSJ, Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn writes: Summertime, at its very best, announces itself in little rituals: the sprint down the beach to feel the ocean hit your toes, the beer yanked from an ice-filled cooler. Up and down the New England coast, the first lobster of the season emerges steaming from an aluminum pot and is served with a little cup of drawn butter, a plastic bib and a fistful of moist towelletes.
“Claws like boxing gloves, prized for its hefty size…”
— Human Predator, describing targeted species
Then there is the second lobster, likely tossed in butter and mayonnaise and piled on a toasted roll. The third one might arrive by way of a creamy bisque. By then, most of us have come to the end of our lobster repertoires. We’re out of steam.
“I look for the lobster that scares me the most.”
— Chef Michael Hung
Lobster might be the ultimate totem of the seaside experience.Though it looms large in the summer vacationer’s imagination, it has traditionally been pigeonholed into a tediously narrow range of preparations.
“This scrumptious shellfish is nothing to be intimidated by.”
— Wall Street Journal, promoting shellfish combat tactics
This is a shame, because lobster has so much to recommend it. It’s sustainable, for one, in an ocean full of creatures being fished toward extinction. It’s lean. It has also, in recent years, become a bargain.
The cost of meats, fish, poultry and eggs has risen, overall, by almost 8% in the past year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but lobster is getting more affordable. Thanks to a glut of so-called soft-shell lobsters—the delicate specimens in new shells caught off the coast of Maine in the summer months—the past three seasons have delivered deals for anyone buying close to the source. Consumers at the seaside this summer are finding local prices as low as $5 a pound, as much as 50% below where they were a decade ago.
Still, you can be forgiven if the prospect of more lobster rolls strikes you as a little wearisome. What to cook, once the tried and true Yankee classics have all been exhausted?
Thanks in part to easing prices, chefs have begun to reconsider the crustacean’s potential, branching out from well-worn luxury presentations. Think lobster BLTs and lobster mac and cheese. Some of the most inspiring and inspired of these treatments draw on lobster’s traditional uses in far-flung global cuisines.
Homarus Americanus—the American lobster species with claws like boxing gloves, prized for its hefty size and sweet meat—is found only from New Jersey to Newfoundland, but spiny lobsters abound in the waters off Southeast Asia and Latin America. The bold flavors of those regions’ dishes offer an antidote to Western butter- and mayonnaise-laden preparations…(read more) WSJ
Victor Prado for The Wall Street Journal, Food Styling by Jamie Kimm, Prop Styling by Stephanie Hanes
- How A Lobster Gets From The Sea To Your Plate (theglobeandmail.com)
- Ian Brown on the nine dilemmas of eating lobster (theglobeandmail.com)
- Lobster – Maine’s fabulous food feast! (tammytourguide.wordpress.com)
- August: End of Summer and Crustaceans (dievca.wordpress.com)
- Lobster rolls get your claws in (theguardian.com)
- Try our fresh Maine lobster! (hopefeinsteinb761.wordpress.com)
- The Lowly Lobster (gerrileclerc.com)
- Cheap at sea, pricey on the plate: The voodoo of lobster economics (theglobeandmail.com)