Maine Lobster vs. Spiny Lobster

March 24, 2007


In a no holds barred cage match, Captain Spiny would crush Maine Man. First, Spiny would flog Mr. Maine like a political prisoner, tie up those bulky claws with his antennae, and finally pin the scrawny beast with his strong, sharp tail.

Alas, the jet was in the garage, so I wasn’t able to fly South to pick up a few fresh Spinies. Even if the new lower emission jet engines had been installed, time was of the essence. Jennifer was on her way home with a bottle of white Bordeaux and she was famished. I had to act fast.

Grilled Maine Lobster, Grapefruit Salsa, Orange Aioli

The Aioli
1/2 cup fruity Greek olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs fresh orange juice
Zest of orange
pinch of salt

You can use a food processor, but it always looks better using a whisk when your lady walks in.

Coddle the egg for exactly one minute or if it’s fresh from your favorite farm, use it raw. Mix the egg yolk, lemon juice, orange juice and mustard in a bowl. In the tiniest, slowest stream, whisk in the olive oil. If the olive oil doesn’t completely combine with the egg, stop pouring and keep whisking. When combined, continue whisking and pouring in a slow steady stream until thick.

Add the crushed garlic and salt. Cover and store in the fridge for at least 15 minutes or overnight. Bring to room temperature 15 minutes prior to plating.

The Lobster
You know the drill here, David. Boil water in a large pot. Bring the beasts to a quick end with your broadsword. Put the tip of the knife in the center of the head and cut the brain and central nervous system in two. Pop them into boiling water for about 4 minutes for a pound and half lobster.

Remove the lobsters from the water, allow to cool, then remove the meat from the shell. I find the easiest way to do this is with kitchen shears. Break the tail from the body. Cut the underside of the tails and cut the claws along the top and sides.

When your salsa is made and your aoli is room temp, finish the lobsters on the indoor grill of your 2,000 sq. ft. kitchen with stadium seating. You’ve ready about Danny Kay, right?

The Salsa
1 ruby red grapefruit
3 scallions
2 Tbs slivered mint
1 Tbs slivered basil
1/2 jalapeño, seed and minced
1 tsp olive oil
a pinch or two of salt
a turn of the pink peppercorn mill

Slice off the top and bottom of the grapefruit. Then, start slicing away the peel starting from top to bottom, cutting off as little flesh as possible Repeat until completely peeled. Remove any remaining bitter pith. Holding the peeled grapefruit over a small bowl, section the grapefruit by cutting between the membrane. The bowl will catch the juices.

Remove the segments and cut into 3 or 4 pieces. Squeeze the remaing juice from the grapefruit membrane. In a separate bowl add the grapefruit, the scallion, mint, basil, jalapeño and olive oil. Combine gently.

Add some of the reserved juice to the mixture. You don’t want to swamp the salsa, so save the rest for a greyhound. Taste for seasoning.

Plate it
Don’t ever let anyone catch you with a squeeze bottle. Even if you decide to use one. You can achieve sauce dots with a teaspoon just as easy. Top the lobster with the salsa, remove the wine from the ice and pour.

13 Responses to “Maine Lobster vs. Spiny Lobster”

  1. Skip Breakfast Says:

    “Bring the beasts to a quick end with your broadsword. Put the tip of the knife in the center of the head and cut the brain and central nervous system in two.”

    I grew up in a fishing town on the shore of New Jersey. Lobster was as normal of a staple as salt and pepper there. I have seen lobster boiled hundreds, if not thousands of times, and have never seen anybody perform that step. It’s not even in my cookbooks.

  2. Dirk Says:

    Skip, you learned something new today. It was a good day. Now, go forth and sharpen your knives.

  3. David Says:

    New Jersey is well known for lobster?

  4. Skip Breakfast Says:

    “Maine” lobster is somewhat of a misnomer. It’s north Atlantic lobster. I had friends in the lobster business and they regularly trucked lobster to Boston from New Jersey.

    If you’ve ever heard of Jack Baker’s Lobster Shanty restaurants, they started in New Jersey.

  5. Cookie Says:

    I learned the head splitting technique from a merciful fisherman in Tobago who likes to bring his dinner to a swift end.

  6. Cookie Says:

    For clarity, the particular lobsters used for this dish were indeed from Maine. I plucked them from the water in Eastport and enjoyed the drive back singing along to Linda Ronstadt. I stopped by Jack Baker’s in Toms River and sold them a few. While I was there, I danced a jig in the Sunset Ballroom. I did not, however, stop in Boston.

  7. mike Says:

    Oh Cookie, save that ruby red juice for the Easterner

    2 oz grapefruit juice
    rye whiskey
    1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
    splash o grenadine

    shake, strain, drink

    and Skip, if you’re getting all technical, the American lobster is the correct name of the species- not the Maine or the North Atlantic

  8. Cookie Says:

    The Easterner sounds delicious, Mike. I’m a huge fan of rye. Thanks for the concoction.

  9. Says:

    Maine Lobster vs. Spiny Lobster

    A classic East vs West Lobster dish, try the recipe and you be the judge!

  10. wow, this is a great writeup!
    I am going to try this over the weekend.

  11. What camera was it used to take this great picture?

  12. Cookie Says:

    Nikon D2X with an 85mm Nikkor from the late 70s.

  13. I’m originally from NJ. Our family had a sail boat in Seabright in the early 70’s. Used to eat great lobsters then, probably at 1/5 the price they’re at now. Bahrs Landing was one of the good places.

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