15 October 2011

Day 43: Silence of the Lobster

"We're going to get really medieval on lobster," our chef-instructor said.

And after a brief primer on how lobsters are essentially large insects, we did. No mercy.

The claws came off first. By hand, bent backwards and ripped apart like a wishbone. Then three knife cuts inside the first tail segment and off it went. The tail muscles flexed into a tight ball, as if the thing had a mind of its own and was pissed about the forced separation.

Knife tip straight down into the hard shell of the body, like a medieval knight vanquishing a fallen foe, then chopped through one end. Then again, through the front, and now the body was in half, spilling liquidy stuff – pasty fat, seawater? – before the legs got lopped off. Then I peeled the leg stumps back to expose and remove the gills.

The tail continued to writhe on my cutting board, a muscle memory protest. And it would keep on protesting, even after I skewered it (to keep it from curling) and up until in went into a hot saute pan.
Recollecting this feels a little cruel, but this is what happens to food that we eat. Too often we (consumers, that is) are way removed from the source of our food, so this was a good reminder of what being at the top of the foodchain entails. And shellfish are easy, by comparison. I've never slaughtered a chicken just prior to cooking it, for example.

Does it make lobster bisque taste better when you've fabricated (that's the nifty kitchen term) the lobster yourself? Yes. Yes it does.

No comments:

Post a Comment