Sunday, August 28, 2011
If the TV Said the World Was Ending in Earthquakes and Hurricanes, I Guess I would Eat Grilled Lobster Tails. Because It Did, And I Did.
Big Trouble in Little China
So a couple months ago, the TV said the world was ending. Because I lend lots of credibility to things like TV, I started formulating what my "last supper" would include. Of course, the world didn't end, so I shifted these thoughts to the back burner. Come to think of it, I only really have back burners, so that statement has no meaning. Anyway, I moved on.
Then, last week, I was ripped from a perfectly peaceful nap by a 40 second earthquake, here in central Virginia, where there are no established fault lines. But the Richter scale rang in at 5.8 anyway, so once again, "what would I eat for my last meal?" popped into my mind. When the "state of emergency" turned into "the thing I bring up at work when the awkward silence stretches out too long," my last supper thoughts again faded away.
Then, Hurricane Irene started stretching her hungry jaws wide in anticipation of a bite of the East Coast.....Now, I am a giant clown, but I will not even dare to take away from the real devastation that Irene caused on the coast and further north from here. However, the hysteria that I witnessed here in sunny Charlottesville, where the natural disaster was neither natural, nor a disaster, was purely comical. However, even my cynical, skeptical eyes were not blind to the fact that things could have been ugly. END OF THE WORLD ugly. So, thinking about what my last bite might be just happened.
But the one sign I couldn't ignore.....the writing on the freaking WALL......my image of the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast............was the fact that Harris Teeter had lobster tails on sale for $3.99.
SO, if you're going to eat food, and you're going to grill that food, and you have $3.99 to spend on it, make it a lobster tail. And do it like this........
To grill the perfect lobster tail, you need to cut it in half long ways. This is a little gross for you squeamish types. Lady Preg-Ga could barely stomach taking pictures whilst I did it. Anyways, save the blade on your knife and use some kitchen shears to cut right down the middle of the shell from the open end to the tail. Then use a large, sharp knife to cut the flesh all the way through until you have split the tail all the way.
As with any seafood, the breakdown process results in a sulfur compound that smells like dead fish. Because, of course, it is dead fish. So have plenty of citrus (lemon or lime) on hand. The juice of a lime does a lot to neutralize the funk. After cutting the tails, I hit them with their first squeeze of lime juice.
To grill them, you want some melted butter for basting. The butter will infuse the meat, as well as help it cook more evenly. I used my Go-To grill butter of summer, Lime Sage Butter.
Lime Sage Butter
4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp sage leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Butter the tail halves liberally, then place them on a medium-high pre-heated grill flesh side down. Don't waste your baste on the shell side, but just watch the tails for 4-6 minutes, depending on how large the tails you are using are.
Flip them when the shells start turning red on the edges. Then apply the baste several times for 4-6 more minutes until the flesh is firm and no longer translucent. (translucent means see-thru.........)
Now if your lobster grilling is like mine, meaning it is grilled and eaten in anticipation of a brewing apocalypse that may or may not include a zombie invasion (because zombies are hot right now, and I am trying to make my blog more relevant to reach a broader audience), then you might as well go all the way and include some drawn butter to dip the meat in.
Drawn butter is super easy and super delicious, but it takes the most rudimentary understanding of physics to pull off. Here's the step by step.
First, get a stick of unsalted butter, and let it melt in a sauce pan. As it starts to boil, there is a foam that forms on the top (milk proteins). Spoon that part off and discard it. Whatever you do, don't taste it.
You are left with the liquid butter on top and a milky sludge at the bottom (milk solids). Simply pour off the clear stuff and discard the sludge. The golden, clear liquid you pour off is your delicious "drawn" or "clarified" butter. It just begs you to dip lobster in it. Or anything for that matter. Including a shoe.
Anyways, I served my lobster tails on top of cheese stuffed tortellini with basil marinara sauce, added drawn butter, garlic toast and the only good quality wine I have ever actually enjoyed, Kim Crawford's Sauvignon Blanc.
In case you were wondering, I prepared the pasta by opening a package of Buitoni four cheese tortellini and boiling it in water. I then topped it with Good Housekeeping Basil Marinara sauce that I bought BOGO.
So, the moral of this story is, don't ignore the signs. There have been psychic predictions, earthquakes, hurricanes and weekly circulars all telling us to go out and get a lobster tail and grill it. I followed my ethereal instructions, and you should, too.
After all, Jack Burton said it best.......
"When some wild-eyed, eight-foot tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that. 'Have ya paid your dues, Jack?'..'Yessir, the check is in the mail.'"