I'm in love with the Red Hook Lobster Pound. Fresh Maine lobster for $10.50/lb, and the little guys are kept in two huge tanks, where they actually look pretty happy. Owner Ralph is a wonderful host. Here's a great way to spend an afternoon if you live in Park Slope or thereabouts:
Put on your iPod and walk down Union Street to Red Hook. It takes about 45 minutes and you'll see some fun junkyards.
Refresh yourself with a martini and some deviled eggs here.
Stagger down the street and buy some lobsters to take home. Ask for females, since their roe gives a beautiful color to lobster salad. Buy some extra shells at $2/pound if you have time to make bisque.
I always kill my lobsters with a knife, while thanking them for their sacrifice and wishing them better luck next time. I think this is more humane than steaming them alive, but what do I know? As WG Sebald wrote in Rings of Saturn:
A hundred years later, the number of herring caught annually is estimated to have been sixty billion. Given these quantities, the natural historians sought consolation in the idea that humanity was responsible for only a fraction of the endless destruction wrought in the cycle of life, and moreover in the assumption that the peculiar physiology of the fish left them free of the fear and the pains that rack the bodies and souls of higher animals in their death throes. But the truth is that we do not know what the herring feels.
makes eight rolls
six 1 1/2 lb lobsters, preferably female, steamed and shelled, (use the shells and steaming water below)
1 or 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1C or so Hellmann's mayo (adjust volume to the amount of lobster meat -- you want a lot of dressing)
juice of one lemon
1 Tbs dijon mustard
roe from the lobsters, crumbled
2 Tbs ground pink peppercorns
2 Tbs chopped capers
1/4 cup or more minced herbs (i like a blend of tarragon, chervil, and chives)
salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste
Mix sauce in a big bowl, then toss with chopped lobster meat. Adjust seasoning.
To serve, spread ample softened butter over hot dog buns. (They should be white trash style--don't get whole wheat or spelt or any of that crap.) Toast on grill until golden, then overstuff with lobster salad.
All you need on the side is a little tossed salad. Great with beer or champagne.
If time permits...
CREAM OF LOBSTER SOUP
Adapted from Jacques Pepin's wonderful Art of Cooking.
shells from above, plus 2 extra pounds, chopped into smallish pieces (a poultry shears works great for this)
1/4 C butter
2 large onions
the water you used to steam the lobsters above
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 Tbs tomato paste
6 cloves garlic, skin on, crushed
2 Tbs sweet paprika
2 tsp dry thyme
6 bay leaves, crumbled
2 C dry vermouth
1 C sherry (an off-dry amontillado is nice)
12 C water
Saute chopped onion and leek in the bottom of a stockpot until they begin to brown. Pour in reserved steaming liquid and stir all around to dissolve browned bits. Add all other ingredients. If necessary, add a bit more water so that shells are covered. Bring to a boil and cook gently for 3 or 4 hours. Strain through a chinoise or fine-mesh strainer. Measure the volume of broth, and if it's more than 8 C, boil down further.
1/3 stick of softened butter
1/4 C flour
1 1/2 C cream
1/4 C cognac
salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
some roe reserved from above, ground in a mortar and pestle if clumpy
Make a beurre manie' by working the flour and butter together into a uniform paste. Bring stock to a boil and whisk paste rapidly into stock. You need to whisk furiously to get it completely smooth (though you can always run it through a chinoise again if you want). Bring it to a boil and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add cream and cognac and correct the seasonings. You don't need to bring it back to a boil to serve, just make it steam. Serve in warmed soup bowls, and sprinkle roe on top to garnish.