Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lobster Salad... Not!

Today I was going to make a lobster salad a'la Barefoot Contessa. It didn't happen, but I thought my short journey into lobster hell would be entertaining, so I'm going to tell you about it anyway. I was feeling pretty feisty this morning after a long, drama-filled weekend. My facebook friends will know what I'm talking about. I was driving down the street and noticed the sign at our local Kroeger affiliate said; "Cooked Lobster $3.99 each". I immediately had a vision of myself as Ina's thinner, prettier, culinary goddess-like little sister... now stop it, I am not responsible for what you just spit on your keyboard... and immediately drove around the block and headed for the store. The reality is, the $3.99 should have been my first clue to run.

Once inside, I checked out the cooler up front where they usually put the specials. I found fish sandwiches wrapped in cellophane. Yuck. Then I eyeballed the Easter candy, managed to walk away from that, and made my way through the entire store, but found no cooked lobster. Maybe they were sold out? Really, who could pass up a bargain like that? My second clue to run was the two gentlemen I encountered near the meat counter. They were dressed in white coats and looked very butcher-like, so I approached them to ask where I might find the $3.99 cooked lobster. They both looked at me as if I had just dropped down from the moon, their faces completely expressionless. Speaking not a word to me, one of them turned around and walked away. The other one said "He will show you where it is." Wow. Could we kick up the people skills just a notch? I dutifully followed the first man as he led me past the processed meats toward the freezers. He looked around, then he walked in a full circle. Don't worry, I didn't follow him around his circle. Finally, he opened the door of one of the freezers and pulled out 2 packages of bright red, frozen lobster. I grabbed a third package and followed him while he went behind the meat counter to print up corrected price labels for the sale price. Take home lesson here... if you can't find something, look for someone with a glimmer of facial expression that doesn't look like he probably lives in his mother's basement, and most of all... don't buy frozen lobster.

I was excited though, this was going to be fun! I planned to print a recipe when I got home, but in my mind I was thinking of what would be good in the salad. I picked up a pretty red bell pepper, celery, and some green onions. Barefoot Contessa actually has an easy recipe for Lobster Salad. She uses (food snob alert!) "good" mayonnaise, celery, capers, fresh dill, salt & pepper, and stuffs it into Belgian Endive leaves. My vision for the dressing was more along the lines of something lighter like Greek yogurt and lemon juice.

I left my frozen little buddies out to thaw. Three hours later they were still frosty and hard as rocks, so I took them out of the package, picked off the ice chunks, and put them in some warm water to speed up the thawing. This was probably not a good idea. I took pictures of them thinking I would blog about it later, but my camera for some reason dumped the pictures. I wish I had them to show you. First of all, in the process of removing the plastic netting I ripped off two of the poor thing's front legs. Why did this make me feel bad? I waited for the PETA protesters to arrive in my front yard. I positioned the legs where they were supposed to be for the picture, and immediately thought of several snarky comments I could make about those three pairs of frozen little eyeballs. Ew.

Once the little guys were thawed enough, I got out my nut cracker and got busy dismembering my new little friends. Doing the claws wasn't bad, but when I got to the bodies I was beginning to think we might not want to eat this. Ripping the little legs off the underbelly reminded me of a giant bug, and I was lucky I maintained my composure long enough to finish the job without dropping the thing like a hot potato and squealing. Once that was done I discovered that I had forgotten about the greenage inside their little bellies. How can such small lobsters have that much poop inside them? Not wanting to touch it, I scraped it out with one of the broken claws, then rinsed it out in the sink. There was nothing I could do about the green stains on the meat, and all this happened while the latest "poop tax" commercial played on the radio. It was pure Karma. Yes, you heard me, I said poop tax. It seems the the city government in Omaha has been talking about taxing toilet paper to help pay for a big federal government mandated sewer overhaul, or something like that, so one of the area plumbers has a commercial where this guy is singing about how he is so fed up he's only going to stand up and pee because they want to tax his poo, and when he gets stopped up he'll just call this plumber. You guys, I can't make this stuff up!

So, now I'm pretty grossed out by this mess, but it's not over yet. When I ripped apart the second and third lobsters, they were filled with some kind of bright red mushy stuff on top of the greenage. As I watched the tiny little red bead-like thingys run down the sink I realized they were probably EGGS. What?? Ew. Again. By this time I know with undeniable certainty that I am not making lobster salad today. I put the meat into a small colander to drain because I could literally squeeze water out of it. I don't know if it was because I put the little crustacean bastards in water or if it was because they had been frozen. I left it in the sink where they drained for awhile, and then when I couldn't take it any more I gave the whole 1/2 cup of water-logged-greenage-stained lobster meat a dignified burial in my garbage can. There wasn't enough meat there to even feed a third grader anyway, and after I cut away the green stained part it just wasn't worth it. *Sigh* At least I am only out 12 dollars. Mock lobster here I come!

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