Trying lobster for the first time can be pretty daunting. Not only will you have to navigate around this creature’s magnificent hard shell to get to the meat, but the price tag is hard to ignore, making this taste test a particularly nerve-wracking experience. What if you don’t like the taste of lobster?
The taste of lobster is a cross between shrimp and crab, but with a sweeter, less ‘fishy’ taste. Lobster meat is firm yet soft and spongy when you chew it. The flavor will mainly depend on the type of lobster, how it is prepared, and which ingredients accompany it.
Lobsters can be steamed or boiled, which maintains their plumpness and juiciness. They can also be fried, baked, or grilled, giving them a slightly smokier taste. Regardless of how you cook lobster, if you plan to enjoy it in its simplest form, it is best served with plain or seasoned butter (herb or garlic). The creamy butter enhances the lobster’s natural flavor, making it irresistible!
Lobster Tails And Claws: Is There A Difference In Taste?
Lobsters flap and twist their tails to move around in the water, which makes the tail very fibrous. As a result, the tail part of the lobsters is generally chewier than the claw. The lobster’s claws are not used as much or as vigorously, which makes their meat softer. The claw meat is also sweeter, as well as tender.
Which part of the lobster is better comes down to personal taste. Some people prefer the meatier and more flavorful tail. Others consider the sweeter claws as the tastier part of the lobster.
Restaurants typically use claw meat for dishes like lobster rolls or club sandwiches because it is tender and thus easier to eat. Lobster tails can stand up to more aggressive cooking methods, like deep-frying, and are often served whole since they keep their shape well. Combining tail and claw meat is also incredibly flavorful, often used in lobster ravioli or baked lobster pie.
The Taste Of Raw Lobster
When lobster gets cooked, it becomes rich, creamy, and soft. Lobster can also be enjoyed raw, as lobster sashimi, which gives it a lighter and more succulent taste.
Lobster sashimi is very hard to prepare since it must be at its freshest and be served immediately to avoid the lobster’s muscles tensing up, making it tough and chewy. Although lobster sashimi might be tasty, eating raw seafood comes with a risk. Uncooked lobster can contain bacteria that are harmful to humans and can cause illness. It is, therefore, best to only eat raw lobster from a reputable source.
Food With A Similar Taste Profile To Lobster
Suppose you are looking to introduce yourself to lobster for the first time, or you don’t have fresh lobster on hand to prepare a particular dish. Consequently, you can replace lobster with other seafood varieties with a similar flavor profile and texture, like monkfish, crayfish, King crab, or langoustines. These types of seafood have a similar spongy texture and relatively sweet taste.
Which Tastes Better – Warm Or Cold Water Lobster?
Different types of lobster have different tastes, depending on whether the specific species grew in warm or cold water.
Lobsters in warmer waters tend to grow slower, which results in more tender meat. Lobsters that grow in colder water have a sweeter taste. This sweetness is due to cold water preventing salt from penetrating the flesh of the lobsters.
If you prefer a softer, more tender lobster meat, then you will do well choosing warm water lobsters, like Rock lobster, Spiny lobster, or Florida lobster. If you are after sweeter lobster meat, it would be best to opt for Maine lobster, Atlantic lobster, or Canadian lobster.
What Food Pairs Well With Lobster?
Lobster’s sweet and delicate taste pairs well with equally subtle flavors and contrasting ingredients.
If you prefer a creamy base for your lobster dish, pair it with mayonnaise, butter, or heavy cream.
For a more powerful, spicy taste, you can combine lobster with tomato paste, Dijon mustard, lemon, wine, brandy, paprika, or cayenne peppers.
A herby marinade would also pair well with your lobster. Choose herbs like sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, or tarragon. Refined flavors like mint and basil also make tasty alternatives.
Popular Lobster Dishes
An excellent way to introduce yourself to lobster, or enjoy it at any time in a dish, is by pairing it with other flavors that enhance the natural taste of the lobster. A few tried and tested lobster dishes are loved by many in the U.S. and remain classics for a reason.
Lobster bisque is a smooth and creamy dish made with big chunks of garlic butter and lobster tails in a sweet homemade stock. Besides the lobster, the base of this dish is tomato and wine, giving it a highly decadent flavor. Next to chowder, lobster bisque is one of the most popular soups, often served in a bread bowl.
Many people think lobster thermidor is the best way to lobster. This French dish consists of lobster meat cooked in a rich wine sauce consisting of brandy and egg yolks. The lobster is then placed back into the lobster shell, topped with Gruyere cheese, and broiled for a few minutes until browned.
The good old lobster roll is a popular choice for a more straightforward dish. A lobster roll typically consists of meat from the claw, knuckle, and tail between two toasted buns. The original version of the lobster roll had the meat drenched in butter which, today, is referred to as a ‘Connecticut-style’ lobster roll. This dish is perfect for a light lunch or informal summer dinner.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
This combination of the famous Macaroni and Cheese with lobster has become a fan favorite. The success lies in the partnership between the sweet lobster against the saltier cheese sauce and pasta. The result is a creamy, cheesy, rich, and luxurious version of a classic dish.
Lobster is regarded by many as the king of seafood. It has a decadent, sweet flavor and firm yet tender meat you can enjoy from the claw or the tail part. Lobster can be cooked several different ways and is best served with seasoned butter but can also be enjoyed with various marinades and sauces. The price tag for this hero ingredient might be steep, but it provides abundant flavor and an air of luxury.