One of the best segments in MasterChef is when you get to see Gordon Ramsay demonstrates his culinary expertise and knife skills in the kitchen. Being a Michelin-star chef, he is well known for his feisty vocabulary and exemplary culinary skills.
During one of the segments, he managed to extract and cook every ounce of meat from a kilogram lobster in just 3 minutes. Yes, 3 minutes! However, let’s put aside the level of our culinary skills and focus on what is on the kitchen countertop, lobster!
Every September 25 each year is a celebration of National Lobster Day. We dedicate this day to this luxurious crustacean delicacy that everyone loves to eat. There was a time when lobsters are called the cockroaches of the sea, but today, it is considered a gourmet dish.
That being said, it is not a secret that lobsters are pricey. A standard lobster dinner could cost you at least RM200, depending on the size. So, when did lobsters become such a delicacy and why are they so expensive?
History of Lobsters
There is a lot of species of lobsters. The most common species are the Homarus Americanus and Homarus Gammarus, or better known as American or Maine lobster and European lobster respectively. They are very similar except for their colour.
In Malaysia, spiny lobsters or Panulirus Versicolor is a species that live in tropical reefs. In Sabah, they are found and bred in captivity for local and international consumption. Though bred in captivity, a spiny lobster dinner could still be pricey, depending on the restaurants. To fully understand what makes lobster so expensive, we really need to take a look at its history.
The lobster was not always revered as it is now. For a long time, it was a source of food for many of the underprivileged in society. In northern Europe, lobster became popular among the Vikings as boats more suited to deep-sea fishing, became more available.
Across Europe, lobsters became associated with status and wealthy lifestyle. This is evident on canvas paintings, where they were often featured to symbolise wealth. Across the Pacific Ocean, the value of lobsters remained low in North America. Native Americans used the lobster as fishing baits and fertilisers. They were also served as prison food to prisoners and enslaved people.
With the arrival of railway transportation in the USA, lobsters became more sought-after. They started to be served on trains across the country and passengers soon became fans of this delicacy. During World War 2, seafood, including lobsters, were not rationed in the USA. The lack of meat product led the public to discover lobsters. The surging popularity of shellfish reduced the stock of lobsters and drove up the price to what it is today.
During this felicitous day, treat yourself to a lobster dish. Do not stop yourself from eating them because they are expensive. However, if you are not willing to pay the service charge of a fine-dining restaurant, you can buy yourself a lobster and try this simple lobster tails with garlic lemon butter recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.
- 4 lobster tails
- 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, very finely chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
- 1 ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided.
1. How to prepare/butterfly lobster tails
- Use kitchen scissors to cut through the top of the lobster tail, stopping at the base of the tail and snipping through the top portion of the meat as you go.
- Flip the tail over to the back see-through side of the tail and crack the ribs in the centre. This will help open the shell.
- Open the shell using your thumbs and fingers and loosen the meat from the shell (remove vein if present). Lift the meat from the shell, keeping it attached at the base. Press the shell together and set the lobster meat over the top. The bulk of the lobster meat should be sitting over the top of the shell.
2. How to make broiled lobster tails
- Place rack in centre of oven so when you bake, the meaty tops of your lobster tails will be at least 6 inches from the top heating elements. Preheat oven to broil on high heat.
- In a small bowl, add the marinade ingredients: 1 tbsp. parsley, 2 pressed garlic cloves, 1 tsp. Dijon, ¼ tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil and 1 ½ tbsp. lemon juice. Stir to combine.
- Place butterflied Lobster Tails into a 9×13 or 8×12 roasting pan. Divide the marinade evenly over the tops of each lobster tail and dot each tail all over with ½ tbsp. of butter cut into smaller pieces.
- Broil lobster tails on high 10-11 minutes (or according to the lobster tail size – see chart below). When done, lobster meat should be opaque and white in the centre and register 145˚F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer lobster tails to a serving platter and garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
** To make the Garlic Lemon Butter: drain drippings from the roasting pan into a small saucepan and combine with remaining 2 tbsp. butter, bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Pour over lobster tails or divide into small ramekins and use as a dipping sauce.
3. Broiling times for lobster tails
- Smaller (3 to 4 oz.) lobsters 6 to 8 minutes
- Medium (5 to 6 oz.) lobsters 10-11 minutes
- Larger (7 to 9 oz.) lobsters 12-15 minutes (with rack in the middle of oven)
Broil lobster meat until opaque and white in the centre, or 145˚F.
Where to find a lobster restaurant?
Steaks and Lobsters is a western-themed restaurant that serves imported grilled Live Canadian Lobsters, fresh and juicy Beef Steaks, Pasta, unique Burgers, and more. Located in Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, Steaks and Lobsters are a restaurant with excellent ratings and good reviews, as recommended by TripAdvisor Malaysia.
If you live in the vicinity of Steaks and Lobsters, log on to foodpanda and get your steaks or lobster dish delivered right to your doorstep.