Maybe you remember a few months ago when I cooked up my first batch of fresh, live oysters and how I was trying to reconcile my desire for oyster flesh against my aversion to ending their goobery little lives? Now we’ve moved onto bigger specimen. Meet Subject 32.
I named him Subject 32 as a feeble attempt to squelch my tendency to anthropomorphize, well, everything. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. 32 stands for the number of people I assume he’s killed in his life.
It’s been 3 days since I killed Subject 32 and I’ve been staving off my residual guilt with mass quantities of wine, though I fear what emotions may bubble up once this elongated buzz wears off. I’d also like to take this moment to thank my day job for embracing the fact that I’m a functional drunk. Thank you.
I’d spent the better half of the previous night dreaming of its tender, sweet meat, only to be met with uneasiness and second thoughts when brought face to face with his beady little eyes. When the lobster herder pulled Subject 32 from the tank, he spit a long stream of water out of his ugly mouth, much to the horror of a little girl watching. I feared I was beginning to like him.
There are many sources claiming that crustaceans don’t have the same neurological capacity to experience pain the way humans do, but somehow I see that as convenient conscience-petting propaganda created by fellow seafood lovers. Descartes went so far to claim that animals cannot feel pain because they lack the level of consciousness to do so. Descartes must have never owned a cat.
I put Subject 32 on the floor to mercifully (or so I thought) give him a few extra moments of free walking when in walked Connor the cat. Subject 32 took one look at Connor, raised his head and SPREAD HIS CLAWS REAL WIDE-LIKE while staying perfectly still as though he were Dr. Alan Grant and Connor were a T-mothereffin’-REX unleashed in his own horrific Jurrasic Park hell. How’s that for temporal consciousness, Descartes?
While preparing my lobster boil — which comprised of a roughly chopped lemon, a few parsley sprigs and crushed garlic cloves — I let the two beasts feel each other out. Connor was interested while the lobster was well over it within seconds. When Connor started playing with Subject 32 after determining he was neither threat nor foe, I realized I’d better put him back in his box before I started developing any feelings for him. I then put Subject 32 back into his box, too.
Once the water began to boil, I quickly pulled Subject 32 out of his box and unceremoniously dunked his District-9-alien-looking ass into the boiling water bath without giving it a second thought. I instantly felt terrible.
Fifteen minutes later I pulled him out of his lemony bath and he was bright red and steaming. I began the process of cleaning him and preparing the meat which first involved first cutting off the front claws as well as all of the legs and setting them aside. Then I cut the body lengthwise to retain the entire shell for serving aesthetics, which you’ll see in the pictures below. Inside the lobster you’ll find an abundance of succulent lobster meat – mostly within the tail – all of which I methodologically removed and set aside for further preparation. You’ll find a few more surprises inside the lobster as well. See that green junk?
That’s called the tomalley, which acts as the lobster’s liver and pancreas which means it’s full of toxins and waste which means you KNOW people will eat it even though it’s full of seafloor garbage. Many people will view it as a delicacy and claim that eating it will help you retain Jesus-like qualities or something, even though it’s said that consuming tomalley potentially runs the risk of inducing paralytic shellfish poisoning. And while spending the remainder of the weekend with the independent mobility of FDR sounded like a lot of fun, I opted to not take my chances and spooned it into the trash.
Given that this was my first time in the kitchen with fresh lobster, I used the foundation of a pre-developed and tested recipe in my new favorite cookbook rather than to execute one of my harebrained ideas and run the risk of ruining the meat. I like to think that Subject 32 deserves more care (and panache!) than that. I made numerous alterations and you can find the entire recipe below.
As for Subject 32, whenever I start to feel guilty about his demise, I remember his alleged murderous rampage and figure I did the world a favor. You’re welcome.
In other news, I’m now two weeks solid with no sugar and I’m pretty sure I’m tweaking. I don’t really know what that means, but I once heard a lady with frizzy hair and remnants of what used to be teeth say it, and I think I can relate.
Souffle-Topped Lobster (Langosta a la Mallorquina)
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2
- 1 2lb live lobster
- 1 lemon, cut in two
- 6 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup Cognac
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp flour
- Salt to taste
- Cayenne pepper to taste
- 2 eggs, separated
- Fill a large stock pot full of water, add lemon, garlic and 4 sprigs of parsley to the water and bring to a boil.
- Add lobster head first into the boiling water and cover, boiling for 15 minutes. Remove lobster from water, allow to cool slightly. Remove claws and legs and slice lengthwise down the lobster. Remove meat and cut tail into large chunks and keep claw meat whole if possible. Set aside and retain both halves of lobster.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat olive oil and 2 tbsp butter in skillet. Once hot, add lobster meat and cook until heated through.
- Add Cognac to the pot and set on fire. Once fire burns out, allow liquid to reduce until halved.
- Add cream and stir until heated, then stir in flour and additional butter until smooth. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Cook over low heat for five minutes.
- Place halved lobster shell into a baking dish and add cooked lobster meat evenly to each shell. Spoon remaining sauce over meat and set aside.
- Measure out 1/2 cup of the sauce and add to a mixing bowl and beat in egg yolks. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into sauce/egg yolk mixture to create the soufflé mixture.
- Spread soufflé mixture over the lobster meat and bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until light brown. Remove and garnish with parsley and sliced red peppers.