Lucky Larry the Lobster – revisited

(Since we enjoyed a lobster dinner on New Year’s Day at Tommy’s on Bequia yesterday, I thought I would repost this story I wrote about lobster, originally published to this blog on Mar. 1, 2010.)

My good friend, Darcie Hossack, writes a weekly food column that appears in Kamloops This Week. She’s sometimes in need of ideas, and occasionally will turn to me, or more specifically, something I’ve written to her, for inspiration. Case in point is this column from Feb. 19th, which I snagged off the internet… and have reprinted here with her permission.

Kamloops This Week
Quick dip didn’t delay quicker dip in butter
By Darcy Hossack – Kamloops This Week

Published: February 19, 2010 8:00 AM
Updated: February 19, 2010 8:58 AM

Q: I read your column online from my home in the Caribbean (Bequia) and thought you’d enjoy a story about a lobster that recently got a short reprieve from becoming our dinner.

I’d spent all afternoon baking bread in the pizza oven — mostly baguettes.

Some were for the Tommy Cantina restaurant, so I suggested Pammy, the owner, stop by and stay for a drink.

“Can’t. The trunk’s full of live out-of-water lobsters. They’re tonight’s special.”

I thought for a moment.

“But the pool is salt water. Toss them in. That’ll keep them happy. Besides, it’s only sporting to allow them one last wallow of freedom.”

I dumped the lobsters into the pool, then joined Pam and my partner, Dennis, at the rum shack (fancy name for pool cabana) to make and consume Painkillers.

“I think they’re frolicking,” I said, glancing at the dark pile-up forming in the deep end.

“More like safety in numbers,” Dennis said, laughing.

It turned out releasing the lobsters into the water was much easier than packing them back into the car.

These aren’t the claw-wielding North Atlantic variety, but they still pose a problem by living up to their name of Spiny.

But what they lack in claw meat is more than compensated for by an extra-long tail and sweeter flavour.

After Pammy and the lobsters drove away, we noticed one had managed to escape by tucking itself away in shadows of the pool’s far corner.

Lucky Larry.

I phoned Pammy, who suggested we keep him “in exchange for these scrumptious baguettes – I’ve already scarfed one.”

So, while I fired up the barbecue and mixed mayonnaise with a dollop of Erica’s Country Style Pepper Sauce, Dennis sharpened his cutlass.

One deft swing split Lucky Larry down the middle, dispatching him with a speedier and more merciful death than plunging him head-first into a boiling lobster pot, and thereby transforming him into dinner for two.

It seemed Larry’s luck had run out. But we believe he died a noble death.

Lucky us!

By the way, splitting and grilling is usually the way everyone cooks lobster on Bequia.

We slather the meat with melted butter and grill the halves meat side down.

The chef at Tommy Cantina had the absolutely brilliant idea to fill the empty cavity (from where the guts are removed) with stuffing and the restaurant serves lobster halves as well as turkey for Christmas, New Year’s, and American Thanksgiving.

I personally prefer butter or mayo with lots of garlic.

— Susan from Bequia

A: With regrets whenever we see people cracking into their big red sea bugs and sucking buttery meat out of giant claws, we’ve never been seafood folk.

It’s unfortunate, too, because the plastic bibs are really cute.

On the other hand, anything featuring butter and garlic, or mayonnaise and garlic, is worthy of attention.

And so, for everyone who’s going to be salivating over the thought of dear, departed Larry (to say nothing of eating said Larry in the Caribbean), we thought we’d end your story with a pair of recipes.

Spiny lobsters may not be on the menu this far north, but we’re sure there are some smooth ones out there, just ready to be macheted in half, grilled and served with garlic.

Garlic butter, mayo

Garlic butter:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

2 tbs freshly grated parmesan

Beat together butter with garlic and parmesan. Place in a butter warmer to melt and hold before dipping and slathering.

Garlic mayonnaise (Aioli):

3 large cloves garlic, minced

three finger pinch of coarse kosher or sea salt

1 large egg yolk at room temperature

juice from 1/2 lemon

1 cup virgin olive oil

fresh ground pepper

Into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add garlic and salt. Pulse for just a couple of seconds. Add egg yolk and lemon juice, pulsing until blended.

Turn processor to “on” and gradually add olive oil in a constant, thin stream, until all of the oil has been added and mixture is emulsified. Season to taste with pepper and, if necessary, more salt.

Darcie Hossack is a food & fiction writer. Dean Hossack is an internationally award-winning chef and former member of Culinary Team BC. Send your questions about food and cooking to onepotato2potato@shaw.ca

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