Sunday, August 4, 2013
Broiled Stuffed Lobster (Gluten Free)
I may not have reported that Haddock, our dear old corgi, died last October, just before Hurricane Sandy. We wanted another corgi, but I had not been looking for one when our neighbor, Debra, gave us the name of a woman who might have corgi puppies. I started e-mailing her back in February. Well, lo and behold, my desultory e-mails led, last Saturday, to the offer of a male corgi puppy, aged 10 weeks. So, we're not going north, and any shellfish I cook has to be accompanied by a dinner party.
Saturday, I invited our very old friends, David and Marilyn, and my brother George, over for dinner. We lived with Marilyn and her then-boyfriend, another Bob, in 1971 in the basement of the runaway house on 18th Street in what is now a high flying neighborhood. In those days, it was run down and occasionally scary. I refused to park my VW bug on S Street because a woman had approached my Bob there and asked him to pee into a bottle so she could pass her drug test. Thankfully Marilyn dropped the other Bob along the way and married David.
I had three lobster eaters, David, George and me, and two non lobster eaters, Bob and Marilyn. This lobster, as mentioned in the title, is stuffed. You take the guts out between the legs and fill that with oyster stuffing. I love oyster stuffing. One year, when I was working at a small newspaper on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, we had oyster stuffing in our Thanksgiving turkey. Shortly thereafter, Bob developed an allergy to shellfish. The oysters provide little nuggets of salty flavor among the bread, onions and celery. I made the stuffing gluten-free with gluten free breadcrumbs, available from Giant in the DC area.
I got started cooking late. Usually Bob pokes me along, but this time, I guess he figured I was 62 years old and could jolly well tell time myself. When David and Marilyn arrived, we were still in our shorts and t-shirts and I had just fired up the charcoal.
This lobster is to be broiled over charcoal. I actually ended up putting it under the broiler because it did not appear to be fully cooked after 20 minutes on the grill. The stuffing was a little charred and the meat dried out. If you want to finish your lobster under the broiler, five minutes is plenty. Also, try to find your lobster cracking device before you put the lobsters on the table. I was pounding away at the claws with a meat hammer, but they didn't crack.
The lobsters did their usual dancy-prancy thing, waving and flailing with a knife stuck in their backs. I was running in and out of the house onto the terrace to turn over the meat, plop the lobsters on the grill and check on their degree of doneness. It made following the conversation sort of hard. Marilyn had gotten back from North Dakota at 2 am on Saturday morning, but I missed the fact that she had only been there for two days. North Dakota cuisine had given her a distaste for fried food. I ended up skipping the dessert, a concoction called Farmer in the Dell, in which Wonder Bread is rolled out flat, spread with farmer cheese, rolled into a cylinder and fried in butter. We donated the Wonder Bread to the church breakfast program for the homeless on Sunday. Bob didn't want to risk having it in the house in case I might make a midweek dessert. I protested that feeding Wonder Bread to homeless people was condescending and wrong, but he insisted they liked it.
This argument reminded me of a series of non-pc jokes my sister and my mother had going in the 1980s when my sister decided to become a caterer in which a series of people of different ethnicities perported to like various non food items in their food. But Bob is a pretty socially conscious guy. He used to get up at 5:00 am once a week for over a year to work at the breakfast program when he was on the church vestry, so I figured he was telling the truth.
Reporting on the lobster. My brother liked it better than boiled lobster because the meat didn't come bathed in water. David apologized because he didn't eat it all. I found it dry. If the meat still looks pink after the required time on the grill, make sure you only put it under the grill for five minutes or less. Also, don't yank up the marjoram when you are harvesting herbs in your garden. Trying to stuff the severed plant back into the dirt doesn't quite work.
Broiled Stuffed Lobster
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 mushrooms, chopped
1 pint oysters with liquor
4 pints dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
Lobsters: 4 one-pound to one and one-half pound lobsters
1. To prepare stuffing, melt the butter in a skillet and saute the onions and celery in it until tender. Add the mushrooms and cook two minutes longer.
2. Drain the oysters, reserving liquor. Chop the oysters and add to the mushroom mixture.
3. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram and enough of the reserved oyster liquor to moisten.
4. Split the lobsters lengthwise and remove the dark vein down the center and the "sac" behind the eyes. Crack the claws.
5.Place the lobsters shell side up over hot coals on a barbecue grill or shell side down under a preheated broiler and broil five minutes.
6. Fill the body cavity with the oyster stuffing and wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil to grill shell side down on charcoal grill or shell side up under a broiler. Broil about fifteen minutes. Serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.