Warning: If you are squeamish/ turned off/ horrified by the idea of killing a lobster, you may not want to read this post.
Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly intrigued by the idea of grilling lobsters. Yes, boiling yields fine results (see my how-to here), but sometimes it’s so hot that boiling a huge vat of water is about the last thing I want to do. I’ve also found it’s a pain when cooking for a crowd- usually the lobsters have to be boiled in batches, making it tough for everyone to eat at the same time. The solution for this seemed to be grilling, but throwing a live lobster on the grill seemed like a less than ideal solution.
It took me a while to get comfortable with the idea of killing a lobster with a chef’s knife. When boiling, you can cover the pot and save yourself the image of the lobster’s last moments. With a chef’s knife, you’re holding the lobster with your bare hands, and there’s no denying what’s happening. As I thought about it though, the instantaneous death brought by a chef’s knife started to seem more humane than the seconds or minutes it takes in boiling water.
To kill a lobster with a chef’s knife, I lay the lobster out on a cutting board facing me. I push the knife into it’s head, with the blade pointing towards me about an inch behind it’s eyes. One I’ve pushed down, I pull forward basically slicing the head in half. Once that’s done, I finish cutting the lobster in half length-wise, and scoop out all the guts, leaving me with a couple claws and a nice, clean tail. (The folks at Fine Cooking also have a pretty good video with a similar technique for killing lobsters with a chef’s knife. Watch it here.)
I’ve found that the tail tends to cook faster than the claws on the grill, so lately I’ve been taking the claws off and putting them on the hotter part of the grill. The tails I douse in a bit of olive oil and let cook low and slow away from direct heat so they don’t get tough.
Grilling also opens up the possibility of adding sauces and flavors to the meat. Clarified butter and lemon are pretty excellent, but it’s nice to mix it up on occasion. Lately, I’ve been in love with Italian-style salsa verde, a savory blend of herbs, capers, garlic and anchovies. I have yet to find something this isn’t delicious with- from steak to grilled vegetables to lobster, it adds an oomph that leaves you wanting more.
I got my basic recipe from a class I took at Dave’s Fresh Pasta, and since then I’ve tweaked it depending on what I’ve got in the fridge and what I’m eating it with. The key to salsa verde is to make it fresh, and to chop everything finely, but not to macerate it (ie use a knife, not a Cuisinart). Because anchovies are involved, this sauce doesn’t do to well if left overnight, or longer, in the fridge.
(adapted from Dave’s Fresh Pasta)
2 cups flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup basil, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed and diced
2 Tablespoons capers, finely chopped
1 can flat anchovies, drained and finely chopped
zest and juice of one lemon
1 cup of the best olive oil you have
1 teaspoon salt (add to taste)
Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over your favorite meat or grilled vegetables.