Exotic Seafood Survey #14: Maine Lobster

Lobsters do not live around New Orleans, which fact makes them less good than the ones you’d find in the Northeast or Canada. Even with efficient air shipping of live lobsters, the longer they’re out of the sea the less delicious they get. The best locally come from sources that sell so many lobsters that they don’t get a chance to go hungry. Tough lobsters spent too much time in that tank in the dining room.

What we call Maine lobster is an homard in the French-speaking world, where a distinction is drawn between the cold-water lobsters in Canada and New England from the tropical lobsters from the Ccaribbean. (The latter is #21 on this list.)

Lobster is a delicacy. Its flavor is subtle, and sauces for it shouldn’t be overpowering. They can, however, be rich, creamy, or buttery. Even the way a lobster is cooked should be uncomplicated. Boiled, steamed. Maybe grilled. Every now and then some bright boy will boil a lobster in crab boil, thereby ruining another lobster. In fact, the flavor of lobster may be too subtle. For me, the best lobster dish of all is not a boiled whole lobster, but lobster bisque, which concentrates the flavors.

Lobster brings its own atmosphere with it. Put one on the table and it’s almost by definition a special meal. The only challenge is to get the shell off. It’s not hard to learn, and so please, please don’t do yourself the disservice of ordering a lobster with the shell removed. Unless you like a cold lobster.

Lobsters do not live around New Orleans, which fact makes them less good than the ones you’d find in the Northeast or Canada. Even with efficient air shipping of live lobsters, the longer they’re out of the sea the less delicious they get. The best locally come from sources that sell so many lobsters that they don’t get a chance to go hungry. Tough lobsters spent too much time in that tank in the dining room.
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