February 17, 2011

Angry Lobster

Let's face it: Valentine's Day sucks...and it doesn't matter if you're in a relationship or not. While I like getting gifts as much as anyone, I don't like the pressure of having to do something romantic for V-Day. Going out to eat is out of the question for us, as it's usually so crazy-crowded at the restaurants. It just feels like such a forced holiday.

So, this year, I decided to have an Anti-Valentine's dinner party for a few friends. For decorations, I set a vase with three long-stemmed red roses in the middle of the dining room table. Then, I cut the blooms off and left them laying on the table. I also set out a heart-shaped box of chocolates for my guests...after I'd taken a bite out of each one, of course. I called my appetizer course--a chunk of bleu cheese--"Love Stinks." I made Red Hots infused vodka as an aperitif.

I asked my guests to bring an appropriately unromantic dish to share...something bitter, sour, spicy, or otherwise un-love-ly.

Colleen brought a grapefruit & fennel salad with parsley & mint (no need to worry about whether or not you have green bits stuck in your teeth!)

Kyle cooked braised beef & pork hearts with horseradish slaw. 

Stephanie made Nigella Lawson's "Slut-Red Raspberries in Chardonnay Jelly" with a bit of heavy cream for a little extra naughtiness. 

My contribution was Angry Lobster, a dish I'd been eyeing for a while. The recipe calls for killing & cutting up live lobsters before cooking the large pieces in a spicy, buttery sauce. Since homicide is VERY anti-Valentine's Day, I made my guests murder & dismember their own lobsters.

These lobsters were beyond angry...they were down-right PISSED OFF. And extremely feisty. The little buggers kept moving and flapping even after they'd been hacked into pieces. The pieces were even still twitching as they were being cooked.

This was such a fun party. I think I'll make it an annual event. I think I'll make jerk chicken next year. I just have to decide if I should have my friends catch & kill their own chicken...

Angry Lobster
adapted from Tyler's Ultimate by Tyler Florence

According to Tyler, "the dish takes its name from the way the lobsters get whacked."

serves 4

2 live lobsters, 1 1/2 pounds each
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced thin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1 fresh red chile
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves or several sprigs of fresh thyme
juice of 1/2 a lemon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • To murder & dismember the lobster: Place a lobster on a cutting board. With a chef's knife, stab the lobster between the eyes and all the way through to the cutting board to kill it quickly. Twist off the claws & break off the knuckles. Crack the claws with a mallet. Set the claws & knuckles aside. Cut off the tail where the body meets the first tale segment. Cut the tale in half lengthwise & then into 4-6 pieces. Cut the body in half lengthwise.
  • Combine the oil, garlic, and red pepper in large skillet or Dutch oven. Slowly heat over medium flame until the garlic starts to brown.
  • Cook the lobster pieces in a single layer 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and repeat with remaining pieces. 
  • Put all the lobster back into the pan. Add the tomatoes and cook with the lid on for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Add the basil or thyme, lemon juice, and butter. Stir. 
  • Serve with lots of bread for dipping, mallets for cracking, and napkins for cleaning.
You know it's a good party when the table is covered with empty wine bottles & rose petals by the end of the night.


LauraB said...

I'm so sad we had to miss this!!

Margaret Howard said...

Yum! And I must say, you do appear to have gotten past the distaste for lobster murder you displayed that first time at my apartment in Lafayette Square. I'm still proud of myself for being the One Who Did It. I did feel bad a few months ago when I read David Foster Wallace's essay. Felt bad for a minute, that is.