I didn’t read this article but I thought the title was appropriate given Canadian lobsters are served all over the globe as a substitute for local lobsters. In and around the amalfi coast, the use of Canadian lobsters are more and more common and too often they are mishandled, not because of any other reason than trying to please clients.
If you encounter Canadian lobsters here are a few pieces of advice. I recommend a slightly different technique over chopping the lobster meat into small pieces, and adding it at the last-minute to the pasta. The problem is, when the flesh is over cooked, it’s like chewing gum.
Yes, it is difficult to control the flesh’s consistency when the lobster pieces are cut so small. The lobster cooking itself requires a different approach, because in the last minutes when adding the lobster meat to the pasta, it often gets over cooked. This definitely happened in my case.
Seafood taste predominantly comes from the various molecular compounds that are dissolved in the water inside the muscles fibers. Lobsters contain tasty amino acids, and polysaccharides which when cooked provide a umami taste, the savory taste everyone speaks of in Japanese cuisine that comes from kombu (seaweed) and is obtainable in lobster, although not exactly the same. But if you eat lobster pasta and included is pomodoro, tomato sauce, you can’t find a simple pasta dish as rich in umami.
If you skewer the lobster and cook it off you have more control over the tail’s meat. But this does not solve the problem. In some cases the problem is the outer layer of the lobster meat, the membrane that is between the shell and the flesh. Most importantly, lobsters contain and abundance of protein-splitting enzymes that can turn into a mealy flesh.
These enzymes become increasingly destructive as temperatures rise above 50-55°C. Inevitably, such high temperatures overcook the delicate texture of the flesh. When possible, a better alternative is to cook the flesh by using much lower temperatures, and then adding the lobster flesh (as quickly as possible) to limit the opportunity for these destructive enzymes to destroy the quality of the lobster’s flesh.
In lobsters, the maillard reaction begins at much lower temperatures and often below the boiling point of water. That happens because the high concentrations of amino acids and simple sugars that help these creatures to maintain the salt balance in their tissues. They too help promote the mallard reaction, which is key to taste.
But in general, the saltier the water, the more concentrated these compounds, and thus the more intensely flavored the seafood will be. So consider some salted water when cooking lobster, or brining it first. The brining involves the use of salt and sugar and will help preserve the tenderness of the lobster’s flesh.