Sunday, August 28, 2011

PYO Lobster and A Modest Proposal.

My first and as of this writing only lobster taken on snorkel. I caught this in about 12 feet of water, at low tide in Rockport. Totally worth buying the permit to have this memory. Here's the lobster, next to the guage -- you can check it yourself with photoshop, if you've a mind.

The lobster dished up proper with black bean sauce, since I had some baby bok choy from Aprilla farms, at the Farmer's Market. I didn't (ie, never) work from a recipe, but I've seen this dish and experimented a million times (up to and including cutting up the lobster before you cook it. Don't. The meat adheres to the shell, and it's a mess to eat). It's a pretty direct process for me now. And I used black beans from scratch -- not a prepared sauce.

Were you inclined to do it yourself: Steam whole lobster. Cool, clean, and crack all joints on all appendages. Set aside, keep such contents of the shell as you'd enjoy adding to the sauce later. Saute crushed garlic and ginger with soaked fermented black beans. Add broth, greens, whole lobster, a little broth with corn starch, tune sweet and salt with palm sugar syrup and soy sauce. Look at that baby... I think a shout out to Dennis Liu is due here, who took me to my first asian grocery in C-town back in the day.

Finding lobsters is not hard; find legally sized lobsters is very difficult because they are under so much pressure, between pots and divers, that they get taken the moment they molt and become big enough to gauge. Of they few lobsters I've taken on SCUBA (less than a dozen since I was certified in '88) most of them were barely legal, and soft (ie, recently molted, and I got to them first).

As much fun as catching lobsters on SCUBA can be, I don't think the environment can sustain it. Plus, divers can dig and move rocks -- you'll do anything in the heat of the moment to bring up a trophy -- in a way more disruptive than traps. To say nothing of recreational poachers, that lowest of life forms, who should be used as bait. Live bait. In chunks. I grew up friendly with a lobstering family in Hull, summers back in the 70's, and it was common knowledge that anyone fiddling with traps could expect -- and soundly deserved -- a peppering with birdshot.

I propose diving for bugs be banned and replaced with the following compromise: Divers may take lobsters only on snorkel, and in return, there will be shallow water diver sanctuaries with no lobster pots, so the take will be better in the free diver's limited range. Or maybe no sanctuaries, but give the free divers a slightly shorter limit, like 3" instead of 3 1/4" and only males, something to give them an edge. Because it's hard to hold your breath that long.


  1. Looks delicious! More work than the Chinese recipe, but no doubt worth it.

    And I remember that grocery trip store! Which reminds me, I need to make an H Mart run...

  2. I buy the permit as my way of paying a little extra on my taxes and only gaze at the lobsters below. My proposal is go to Joey's and if you really need to catch them he'll toss you the bag. The bag is also helpful to seal up all those shells so your trash doesn't get stinky before you make it up to the Rockport dump. I just picked up a Foosball table there but that's another story ...

    ps, yeah, H-Mart is the bee's knees.