Well, I had often heard the stories from when my Dad, as a young boy, would complain when his father brought home another bag of lobsters for dinner, saying “Oh,no! Not lobsters again …” Back then a can of beans cost more than a can of lobster. It was so cheap it was routinely fed to inmates in prison, or even ground up for fertilizer. Yes, that was then. Today we celebrate National Lobster Day 2019 and pat ourselves on the back for creating the sustainable lobster industry which provides us with an abundance of the wonderful creatures will all love to eat .
Eat More Lobster
So celebrate National Lobster Day today by putting together a family dinner, fill the kettle with lobster, and have a lobster feast. These days, no matter where you live, lobster is just a web site visit away. If your not in Maine or New England, fresh Maine lobster can be shipped right to your door using any number of online lobster delivery services.
And while we are at, let’s give kudos to the Maine lobster industry, especially the fisherman who do the hard hauling and brave the elements to bring us our lobster. The Maine industry has taken sustainability to new levels. The achievement is the result of a strong partnership among the government, the fisherman and the dealers.
Notching Female Lobster
The industry stays in the forefront of conservation and regulation to ensure an abundant, healthy supply of Maine lobster. And there is much to celebrate: Maine lobstermen in 2018 caught 120 million pounds of lobster valued at more than $484 million, up 8 million pounds from 2017. That is the third largest catch on record.
We should all take notice too that harvesting lobster has not changed in 125 years. The fisherman still haul them in by hand, one lobster trap at a time. Each lobster is examined, measured and thrown back if too small or if it is a female with eggs. The egg bearing female has the tail notched before being returned to the ocean. This means that notched female lobster will never ever make it to the kettle as all the fisherman will honor the notch and toss the lobster back.
It’s Now the Season to Take Advantage of the Lowest Prices of the Year on Sweet, Succulent Whole Maine Lobster
Come this time of year in late summer and early fall in New England, you will find that the locals will be out enjoying the lowest prices of the year on Maine lobster. It’s not unusual at all for a lobster lover to get the urge to stop by the local fish market and select a few pounds of new shell lobsters just on the spur of the moment. When you can buy a live, ocean fresh, whole-Maine lobster at $6.99 a pound at the Market Basket ,there is no reason to say no.
New shell lobsters – sometimes called soft shell lobsters – are lobsters that have recently shed their old hard shell in order to grow. When a lobster molts, the new shell grows underneath the old one. When cooked, the new shell is very soft and can usually be twisted off and crushed by bare fingers.
Cheap Lobster – $6.99 a Pound
Some people say the meat in the soft shell lobster is sweeter and more tender than lobster meat from a hard shell lobster. The lobster meat is easier to remove and even cooks faster. And the price is so low, its easy to add an extra lobster or two.
Experienced eaters will tell you there is more meat in a hard shell lobster pound for pound, and the hard shell lobster will live longer out of water and can travel further and be more easily shipped.
But at the lowest price of the year, buy three or four for two people. We recently picked up three 1.5 lbs new shell lobsters and a couple of pounds of steamers from our local market. We got out the kettle and made short work of adding the salt and water to put together a sunny Sunday afternoon lobster and clam feast. Preparation took about 30 minutes.
We first encountered authentic lobster seafood paella recipe on the Mediterranean coast where the Valencians prepared the authentic rice dish with clams and mussels still in the shells and served the meal sizzling hot from a paella pan. The dish had been cooked over a hot wood-fire grill which gave the Bomba rice a delicious, smokey crunch.
We “Americanized” the Seafood Paella Recipe
Once back home, we “Americanized” the recipe by adding ocean fresh Maine lobster to the traditional clams and mussels creating a spectacular Lobster Seafood Paella.
Valencian Seafood Paella is a wonderful dish known all through the Mediterranean as a traditional peasant meal cooked over a wood fire grill and served from the pan. The presentation is spectacular and the recipe delicious and easily scaled for any size dinner party. The wonderful presentation of the lobster, shellfish, rice and vegetables create a dish suitable for any occasion. While the wood fired grill is the traditional cooking method, any outdoor grill or indoor stove top can be used.
Mediterranean Seafood Paella with Maine Lobster
Ingredients for dinner for four (scale for more people):
2 cups Bomba (Calasparra) Paella Rice (or other light brown, small to medium light grain rice)
1 tablespoon Crushed Saffron
20 Fresh Littleneck Clams washed and scrubbed
20 Fresh Mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1 ½ Cups Fresh (Or Frozen) Green Peas
In a large kettle, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil. Blanch the lobsters two at a time over high heat. Cook until bright red — about 6 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a plate and set aside.
In the same kettle, add shrimp and cook until pink — about two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool in a bowl.
When cool, peel the shrimp and add the shells to the boiling water. Place the peeled shrimp aside and cover.
Twist the tails and claws from lobsters. Use a large chef’s knife to cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise. Crack the claws with the knife. Remove sac from bodies. Set the lobster aside and cover.
Reduce heat to low and simmer shrimp-shell mixture to make two quarts of fish stock for paella, about 30 minutes (Add water if necessary) Strain liquid and set aside.
When fish stock is ready, warm olive oil in 13-inch paella pan (15-inch if available) over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic to pan and sauté five minutes until onion is translucent.
Add tomatoes, peppers, lemon juice, and white wine and simmer about one minute. Stir in pepper and salt. Stir in parsley.
Stir in 1 quart fish stock and add rice. Stir in saffron. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Add a second quart of fish stock. Stir in clams, mussels, shrimp and lobster (tails, claws and bodies). Stir in peas.
Stirring occasionally, cook until all the clams and mussels are open, about five to seven minutes. Discard unopened clams and mussels.
Bring paella pan to the table and place on a heat-safe pad and serve immediately.
If you like this Lobster Seafood Paella recipe you may also wish to try our Boston Style Lobster Fra Diavolo recipe, the king of all spicy lobster dishes.