When is lobster season in Maine? The short and long of it is lobster season in Maine is year-round. There is, however, a seasonality to the catch. One associated with the time of year when over 10 million travelers worldwide experience Maine. That time would be during the high summer months, a time of backyard barbecues and beach and lakefront soirees with friends and family, when the soft-shell lobster season commences, and the bulk of the annual haul of Maine lobster is trapped. Truly, summer is the season when Maine lobster is at its peak freshness. To celebrate the coming lobster season in Maine, here are three of our favorite lobster recipes to enjoy:
Maine Lobster Rolls
Considered a classic staple craved by residents and visitors alike, Maine lobster rolls are found in lobster shacks and roadside restaurants all over the state. Maine lobster rolls are especially popular during the summer months during the soft-shell season; you don’t have to go to a restaurant to enjoy them. You can prepare them at home and have them anytime.
First, cook your lobsters in boiling, salted water for 8-10 minutes per pound of lobster. A 2-lb lobster will take 13-15 minutes per pound. If you lose track of time or are eyeballing it, they are done when the lobsters turn bright red. After the lobster has cooled, pull the meat from the claws, knuckles, and walking legs to use in your lobster roll. That meat is more tender than the tail and makes for a better roll. Plus, you can save the tails for broiling (see below).
Once the lobster meat is sorted, lightly toss it with your favorite mayo brand. Just enough for the meat to bond and give it an overall creaminess. Some recipes call for adding chopped celery or seasoning with salt and pepper. That’s up to you. The same applies to the type of roll you choose. Many lobster shacks serve the lobster on a hot dog roll that is center cut, buttered, and toasted. Other recipes call for a sub roll center cut, buttered, and toasted. Whichever roll you choose, once it’s ready, stuff it with the lobster meat you prepared, and enjoy a homemade Maine lobster roll.
Broiling lobster tails is an easy way to cook your lobster and a delicious way to enjoy them. Use the tails from the lobster you used to make the rolls (boiling the lobster tails first prevents the meat from sticking to the shell). Take the tails and butterfly cut them lengthwise belly up. Do not cut through the shell. Do separate the shell lengthwise and loosen the meat inside. Brush the tails with melted butter and season with salt, pepper, and paprika (or your favorite seasoning). Place on a baking pan with the meat side up and set the oven temp to broil. Once heated, place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and broil for approximately 4-6 minutes or until the meat browns. Serve with melted butter or your favorite sauce.
If you want to bring out the lobster’s sweet, succulent, buttery flavor, look no further than preparing it sous vide, a cooking method in a vacuum-sealed bag immersed in heated water.
First, dispatch the live lobster humanely by plunging a knife through its head. Then twist and separate the tail and claws from its body. To remove the meat from the shell, it needs to be parboiled—the tail for one minute and the claws for five minutes—and then transferred immediately to an ice bath.
Once cooled, to separate the tail from its shell, squeeze the sides firmly until you hear the top side crack, then pull the sides outward to open up the underside. You should be able to remove the meat easily.
The claws are a little bit more of a challenge. Start by separating the pincers from the claws and the claws from the knuckle and leg segments. With soft-shell lobsters, it may be possible to snap each section open to pull the meat out from the shell. Otherwise, use kitchen shears to cut along the length of the shell. Then, poke and pull the meat out with a wooden skewer, chopstick, or fork prong.
Next, place all the meat in a heavy-duty zipper-lock bag. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons butter. You can experiment with adding seasonings; some recipes call for tarragon sprigs. Use a water displacement method to vacuum seal the bag near airtight; zip-close all but the last half-inch or so of the bag. Slowly submerge the lower section of the bag into a large pot of water. As the bag is submerged, water pressure pushes all the air out through the small opening at the top; just before it is completely submerged, close off the bag and pull it out of the pot.
Using a sous vide precision cooker, preheat the water bath to 130°F. Cook for at least 30 minutes for tender, succulent meat. Remove the bag from the water and serve the lobster with melted butter.
Order Fresh Maine Lobster from Klenda Seafood
This summer, find the freshest Maine lobster for your favorite lobster recipe at Klenda Seafood. Our lobster is hand-picked and sourced daily from the Gulf of Maine. Visit us online or stop by the shop for local pickup in South Portland. At Klenda, you’ll find the best lobster Maine has to offer!