Over the weekend we were out in Montauk — driving around in the cold, hanging out by the beach, getting engaged. You know, the usual. There was a ring presented in an oyster shell, a lot of pictures taken, and then, of course, a visit to Duryea Lobsters to get a couple of pound-and-a-halfers to celebrate with.
Duryea’s, which has been around for over 80 years, is a favorite of ours. They sell fresh live lobsters (as well as other seafood and lobster memorabilia) out of a little store in the front, and in the summer there’s an outdoor deck and pier where you can get some pretty excellent lobster rolls and gaze out over the water.
In picking out our celebratory shellfish, we got to talking with Svetlana, a warm Russian woman who came to work at Duryea’s as a student on a summer program a decade ago and ended up loving the place and sticking around. She gave us a mini-tour of the tanks in the back and a little tutorial on how to tell male and female lobsters apart (Rachel already knew).
Basically, male lobsters generally have bigger claws while female lobsters have wider tails. As well, the “swimmerets” — small appendages on the underside of the tail which help the lobster move forward — are softer and more feathery on the females. Most people don’t think gender makes a difference in the way a lobster’s meat tastes, but female lobsters come with delicious roe (the black eggs found in the tail which turn red when cooked).
We’d been under the impression that larger lobsters tended to be more rubbery when cooked, but Svetlana said even the meat from a 10-pounder — when cooked properly, for the right amount of time — should come out tender.
Anyhow, we’d intended to head home and make some elaborate lobster-based recipe that we could put up on the blog and call “Engagement Lobster,” but after an afternoon of champagne and calls to family we ended up keeping it simple. It turns out engagement lobsters are simply steamed, put in a bowl, and torn apart with one’s fingers. Seemed fitting.7 com