Wednesday, June 17, 2009

159. Grilled Lobster with Orange Chipotle Vinaigrette (p. 338)

I was flipping through the grocery store sale flyers a couple of weeks ago, when I saw that Market Basket was having a sale on lobstah! (I'm from Boston, in case you didn't know.)

I don't usually do my shopping at Market Basket, but I made an exception for cheap lobster. Whenever I go into Market Basket, I feel like I've entered a time warp. Sure, they sell Dora the Explorer Fruit Snax, and all of the other "current" food items, just like the Stop and Shop down the street. But, there's somthing different about Market Basket. Maybe it's because the bag boys still wear aprons over a white shirt and tie. Maybe it's because they still use sawdust to sop up spills on the floor. Maybe it's because their stores are still decked out in '60s decor. Or maybe it's just because it's where my mom did the grocery shopping when I was a kid. Anyway, bag in hand (with two 1 1/2 pound lobsters wriggling away inside), I stepped back into the twenty-first century to make to make this recipe.
I've eaten lobster hundreds of times. (I even ordered it in a restaurant when I was five years old!) But, I've never eaten it grilled, and I've never actually cooked it myself before. So, this was a new experience for me.

First, I par-cooked the lobsters. Now, I know that this is a touchy subject for some people. In fact, I recently read The Face on Your Plate, so I fully understand the need for the humane treatment of animals. But, I'm not ready to swear off meat, and I see little difference between quickly and efficiently dispatching a lobster in boiling water yourself and buying a steak made from a cow that met its maker at someone else's hands. So, I plunged the lobsters one at a time into the pot, and in a few minutes, they turned bright red. I only partially cooked them in the boiling water. They would finish on the grill.

Next, I made the Orange Chipotle Vinaigrette. I blended together some orange zest and juice, vinegar, chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo, with some salt and sugar. With the motor running, I slowly poured some olive oil into the blender's top opening. Once it was nice and creamy and emulsified, I whisked in some chopped basil and divided the vinaigrette into two bowls (one for basting the lobster as it grilled, the other for drizzling on the final product).

While the grill preheated, I broke the claws and tails off the lobsters. Using kitchen shears, I cut the tails (still in their shells) in half lengthwise, and removed any nasty bits. First I put the claws on the grill, cooking them for a few minutes until liquid bubbled out of the ends. Meanwhile, I brushed some of the vinaigrette onto the tail meat and put the tails on the grill, shell side up. After a few minutes, I flipped them over, admired the nice grillmarks, and brushed some more vinaigrette onto the meat.

When the lobster was done, I served it with a green salad and more of the vinaigrette (to dress the meat and the salad). The lobster claws were awful! I don't know if it was the grilling, or if it was the lobsters themselves. The meat was dry, spongy, and pretty much inedible. The shells were incredibly hard, too, so I wonder if these were just tired lobsters who were due for a molting. The lobster tails, on the other hand, were excellent. The meat was tender, sweet and delicious. The grilling and the vinaigrette (with it's nice blend of the smoky heat of the chipotles, the citrus zing of the orange, and the slight licorice flavor of the basil) gave the lobster an excellent lift over the usual ... steamed with drawn butter.

The vinaigrette, however, was too heavy and overwhelming for the salad. (I can't blame this on Gourmet, since it was my idea to pair the lobster with a salad and to re-purpose the vinaigrette.)

The lobster tails were amazing, but that's really about all I liked about this dish. And even on sale, it was a lot of money to spend for a grilled lobster tail.

Date Cooked: May 30, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: B+

1 comment:

outdoorgriller said...

That really sounds like a good recipe. I love spicy food and I have had vinaigrette on my lobster tails before and it was amazing.I have some recipes for lobster tails and if you would like to see them or the collection of tips and recipes I have for grilling you can visit