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Sunday: Grilled fresh lobster

There is no denying that lobsters are an interesting-looking species. It’s difficult to imagine that someone first had the inclination to catch and cook these well-armored crustaceans. However, as those who have dined on lobster can attest, lobsters’ unique look masks a lot of taste.

Lobster and shellfish decompose quickly after death, so they have to be cooked within minutes of perishing. Boiling is a common method of cooking lobster. However, by quickly dispatching with the lobster and then cooking it on the grill, the flavor profile of lobster becomes even more pronounced. Follow these guidelines for “Lobster Grilled With Seafood Butter” from Mastering the Grill (Chronicle Books) by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim.

Lobster Grilled With Seafood Butter

Makes 4 servings

4 live lobsters, about 1 pound each
6 tablespoons Green Chimichurri Rub (see below)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Finely grated zest and juice of one lime
1 teaspoon green hot pepper sauce
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Oil for coating grill grate

  1. Heat the grill with indirect heat, medium (325 F to 350 °F).
  2. Put a lobster on its belly on a rimmed sheet pan. Hold a sharp knife with the blade perpendicular to the length of the lobster. Insert the knife into the back of the lobster where the shell of the thorax meets the shell of the head. Remove the knife and turn the blade parallel to the length of the lobster. Starting at the place where you just inserted the knife, cut down the length of the lobster through the center of the thorax and the tail. Turn the lobster onto its back and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the light green tomalley from the body cavity and, if present, the long sac of dark green roe that runs down the back of the lobster, and put them in a small skillet or saucepan. Crack the claws by whacking them across the crest of their bulge with the back of a heavy knife. Put the lobster halves on a plate that will collect their juices. Repeat with the remaining lobsters.
  3. Drain any liquid that has collected on the lobster plate into the pan holding the tomalley. Cook over medium-low heat just until the lobster drippings turn white and the tomalley brightens, about 1 minute. Cool.
  4. In a food processor, purée the tomalley mixture with 2 tablespoons of the rub, the dill, the butter, about one-fourth of the lime zest and juice, and the hot pepper sauce until the mixture is smooth and thick; set aside.
  5. Mix the olive oil with the remaining 4 tablespoons rub and spoon the mixture over the exposed lobster meat.
  6. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the lobsters, cut-sides down, on the grill directly over the heat. Cover and grill for about 4 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Turn the lobsters over and move them away from the heat. Cover and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat registers about 140 F, about 10 minutes. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350 °F.
  7. Remove the lobsters to a large serving platter. Drizzle the meat with the remaining lime zest and juice, and place a dollop of the seafood butter in the open place of each lobster half so that people can dip the lobster meat into it as they eat.

Green Chimichurri Rub

⅔ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all chimichurri rub ingredients, and use as directed.