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Broiled Lobster: Spilled Milk #101
The lemon, the garlic, the butter: This dish is just ridiculously good and so, so simple.
Lobster is the quintessential New England delicacy and has been a part of the region's food culture for centuries. With their sweet and succulent meat, lobsters are a prized seafood enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. However, the lobster's rise to culinary fame was not always so straightforward.
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The lobster was once considered a food for the poor — when it wasn’t used as fishing bait! During the colonial era, lobsters were so plentiful that they used to wash up on the beaches in heaps, where residents would gather them in buckets and carts. Lobster was so abundant and cheap that it was a popular food to serve to prisoners.
It wasn't until the mid to late 19th century that lobster began to be regarded as a luxury food item. The development of the railroad system made it possible to transport live lobsters quickly and efficiently, allowing the seafood to reach markets outside of New England. As the demand for lobster grew, the price of this once humble food began to rise.
Today, lobsters are a symbol of culinary excellence in New England. Maine, in particular, has a strong association with lobsters and has built an entire industry around it. Maine lobsters are some of the most sought-after in the world, with the state exporting more than 100 million pounds of lobsters each year.
Despite its popularity, the lobster industry has faced numerous challenges over the years, from overfishing to environmental degradation. In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on sustaining the industry's growth and ensuring the lobster's conservation. Regulations on lobster harvesting have been implemented, which helps to maintain a healthy lobster population. Initiatives have also been undertaken to introduce more sustainable fishing practices and to reduce the impact of climate change on the lobster industry.
I love talking about the history of lobster in New England, a story of humble beginnings and culinary transformation. From a food for the poor to an acclaimed delicacy, the lobster has taken an important place in New England cuisine. Today, with sustainable fishing practices and conservation efforts, the lobster industry continues to thrive and remains a vital part of New England's food culture.
So let’s broil some. Here’s my technique, and a few tips:
I get my lobsters from Maine Lobster Now.
Steam your lobsters first. Put a small skewer up the tail of each lobster before you steam them, so the tails lie flat when you broil them. Remove the skewer after you steam them.
Make your compound butter while the lobsters cool. I blitz butter with chopped shallots, scallion, herbs, lemon juice and a garlic clove or two.
Split the lobsters and season them with the butter.
Broil for 5-7 minutes and serve.