Steamed lobster with drawn butter and boiled sweet corn served on newspaper for the perfect summer meal. Summer does not get any better than this!
Nothing screams summer in New England more than a messy lobster lunch or dinner eaten out in the hot sun someplace where briny scent of the sea fills your every breath. Seagulls are squaking nearby. Lobster juice dribbles along your hand past your wrist and down your arm when you rip the claw away from the body. No posh French emulsion sauces needed, thank you very much. Keep it simple so the sweet clean taste of lobster carrying a hint of the sea is what you taste with every bite. Chase it with a bite of sweet, sweet summer corn. I did not grow up here, but I have turned into a New Englander. I even say “lobstaah” half the time. K makes fun of me.
Why steam a lobster instead of boiling it, you ask?
Here’s why. When you are cooking the lobster in a relatively small amount of liquid — which is the case when you steam a lobster — the brine and flavour of the lobster gets concentrated into a small amount of liquid. This means that when you are done steaming your lobster, you end up with not just cooked lobster, but a beautiful lobster broth. Tonight, K and I will enjoy our lobster feast. But, tomorrow, I will boil down that broth even further with a bayleaf and a clove of garlic to really intensify the essence of lobster and then turn that broth into one of any number of dishes that call for a seafood base: lobster bisque, San Francisco cioppiono, seafood soup.
I have a friend who chooses the lobsters she wants from the tank at the supermarket, and then pays the store to steam the lobster for her. And, believe it or not, she has been living in New England longer than I have. By the time she has paid for her groceries and driven home, her lobster is barely even hot! This post is for her. To show her how easy it is to cook lobster in your home — even if you’re not a native New Englander.
If you kill your lobsters before adding them to the pot, then it is okay to remove the rubber bands from the claws. I always feel queasy cooking pieces of rubber with my food. However, many people do not remove the rubber band and the lobster tastes just fine.
- 2 live lobsters
- 3-4 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- Fill a large stockpot that will fit the lobsters comfortably with 3-4 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and add salt. Once the salt dissolves, taste the water. Add more salt as needed until the water tastes like seawater. Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to live within walking distance of the sea, you can just use sea water.
- Place a steamer insert into the stockpot (I just invert my canning jar rack, tuck in the handles and stick it inside my stockpot). Using, tongs, transfer the lobster to the pot. Once the water comes back to a boil, start the timer.
- Steam the lobsters for 8 minutes for the first pound, and then for 3-4 minutes per additional pound.
- While the lobster is steaming, melt salted butter. Serve the steamed lobster on old newspapers with drawn butter, boiled corn and cold lemonade or beer.