Categorized | Cooking, How To, In Season

Love Lobster? Rick Groomer Has Some Preparation Tips for You

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steamed lobsters1As most of San Antonio’s many seafood fanatics are aware, Groomer’s Seafood, which sells its fresh fish and shellfish to restaurants, also has a retail outlet at their store at 9801 McCullough Ave.

The popular store will become lobster central on Thursday, which is the first day of the three-day Lobster Mania. This is the second annual event, and the sale goes on through Saturday (Aug. 3) of this weekend.

To prepare for Lobster Mania, Groomer’s did a promotion that lured lobster lovers to their Facebook page by offering to lower per-lobster prices when they got enough “likes” on their page. This was a charm that worked, and (at least as of this writing) lobsters will be selling for a very tempting $6.95 apiece.

“Last year’s Lobster Mania was a huge success,” said Groomer. “So this year we’ll have 3,500 lobsters for sale each day on Thursday and Friday (the crustaceans are flown in daily) and another 5,000 on Saturday. We’ll have to clear everything out off the floor (to accommodate the crowd), but things will move pretty fast.”

We asked for a few tips and tactics for picking and cooking a fresh lobster. This, Groomer said, is the best time of year and fresh, Maine cold-water lobsters are the best kind to buy. The season is at its peak and the supply is plentiful, he says.

“If you’re picking out a live lobster, you’ll want to select one that is lively, is moving its claws — the claws aren’t looking droopy or still,” he says.

lobster3Then, keep your new friend or friends as cool as possible. “You can do this with a damp newspaper or wet towel, and keep them at at least 40-50 degrees, or in the fridge. They’ll keep for 24-48 hours,” Groomer said.

Don’t become too attached to your lobsters in the meantime. “It’s best not to give them a name,” he said.

But, if you’re feeling a little squeamish about tossing them into the steamer or boiling them, one of the ways to ease your feelings is to put them in the freezer for 10 minutes or so before you cook them.

“They’ll go into a deep sleep. This is probably the most humane way to do it,” Groomer says.

Do lobsters have feelings? Groomer didn’t say yes or no, but he did say there have been “tests and more tests” showing that they probably don’t feel pain.

Groomer’s favorite way to cook and eat lobster: Keep it simple, he said. Steaming is the way he prefers with a little bit of flavoring in the water of the steamer — salt, dark ale, Old Bay Seasoning, lemons. When they have turned red, they’re done. (See directions for cooking below.)

“Honestly, the less you do the better,” he said. Along those same lines is his suggestion for serving — simply fresh drawn butter.

Groomer's Lobster Roll

Groomer’s Lobster Roll

And we see nothing wrong with that. However, Groomer’s also shared their Lobster Roll recipe, which you can find by clicking here.

Two ways to cook your lobsters

There are two popular ways for preparing your live lobster; steaming and boiling. Boiling is a bit quicker and the meat comes out of the shell more willingly than when steamed.

For recipes that call for fully cooked and picked lobster meat, boiling is the best and easier method. In contrast, steaming is gentler, yielding slightly more tender meat. It preserves a little more flavor and it’s more forgiving on the timing front making it harder to overcook.

We’ve included two simple guides below for cooking your live lobster for Lobster Mania to pair with a recipe of your own or just some simple clarified butter. Both of these recipes are for lobsters that weigh between 1 and 1 ¼ pounds.

To Boil: Begin by filling a large pot three-quarters full with salted water using 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water. Then bring the water to a rolling boil and place the lobsters in the pot, making sure they’re completely submerged. Cover the pot and begin timing, maintaining the boil, for about 8 minutes.

To Steam: Put about 2 inches of salted water in a large pot (use 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water). Put the lobsters in the pot, and cover tightly. Begin timing, and steam for 12 minutes. — From Groomer’s Seafood


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