Monday, October 19

Bargain Basement Lobster Risotto

8 servings
Total cost NY $19.59
Cost per serving NY $2.49

Yes, you read that right, LOBSTER! In the current economy, the price of lobster has fallen to a point it hasn’t seen since 1990. In Manhattan it’s currently running about $9.95 a pound, down from almost twice that a little over a year ago, back when the recession was just starting to get its groove on. The lobstermen/women/folk are suffering fiscally due to the lack of demand for their catch. So, yes it’s still a splurge, but by buying lobster you (1) enjoy a spectacular bargain*, (2) help fellow victims of the economy out and (3) get to eat lobster! Isn’t that worth $2.49 a serving?

Lobster Risotto
Now for some unpleasantness. Yes, this recipe calls for a live lobster. Yes, that means that you yourself will have to make it un-live.** If you’ve seen Julie & Julia***, you’ll know that this is when you start singing “Lobster Kill-ah! Qu’est que ce? Fa fa fa fa fa fa!” One can buy cooked lobster meat, but the price is sky high and the freshness is frequently in doubt, so I just can’t recommend that method. If you don’t have the stomach for this (and I feel you, I really do) perhaps you’d be interested in a nice vegetarian mac & cheese? Or some salmon cakes or clam chowder, both made with seafood that comes in nice little tins?

Lobster Risotto

(UPDATE: We've been Slashfooded! ("Lobster Risotto - Feast Your Eyes")

  • 1 1 ½ pound lobster ($14.93)
  • 1 onion (NY $0.37)
  • 2 bay leaves (staple)
  • 15 peppercorns (staple)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (staple)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (staple)
  • 2 shallots (NY $0.92)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (staple)
  • 1 cup white wine, at room temperature (NY $0.75)
  • ¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley (NY $0.79 for one bunch)
  • 2 cups arborio rice (NY $1.83)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (staple)
Chopped Onion

Bring just enough water to cover your lobster lengthwise to a boil in a large pot. Add the peeled, quartered onion along with 2 bay leaves and about 15 peppercorns. Pop the live lobster in the freezer for about 15 minutes to desensitize. (“Ah yi yi yi yi yi yiiiiiiiiii!!!!”) Once the water is boiling, plunge the lobster into the pop head first and cover. (“Run run run, run run run awaaaaaaay!!!”) Cook about 5 minutes, until bright red. (Be careful not to overcook at this point, as the lobster will continue to cook in the risotto later.) Remove lobster from pot ("Hey hey hey hey HHHHHHAAAAAAAA!"), but leave the pot on the heat. Rinse your lobster in cold water, then remove lobster meat from the shell.

Lobster Risotto
Since the LBUH is renowned far and wide as a master lobster sheller****, I’ll let him tell you himself exactly how it should be done:

Lobster Risotto
Since the Lobster is full of the lobster stock, start by dismantling the lobster over a lipped plate or a shallow bowl. Start by removing the claws. While holding the lobster’s main carapace in one hand, grab one of it’s claws and while gently twisting the limb, pull it away from the body. As the clawed limb comes off, the juice inside the body should start to pour out into the bowl. Repeat this action with the other clawed limb.

Next, while grasping the tail in one hand and the body in the other, twist your hands in opposite directions and gently crack and pull apart to separate the tail from the torso. Pour the rest of the liquid held in the torso back into the bowl of lobster stock.
Lobster Risotto
To remove the meat easily from the tail, start by snapping off the fanned end so that the flesh is exposed at either end of the tail. Next, insert a chopstick (or the handle of a fork or spoon if you don’t have a chopstick) into the smaller opening on the tail and gently push forward to coax the meat out in one lovely piece.

Now attack the claws. Start by removing the claws from small joined pieces. Don’t discard the joints as there is meat inside those that we will remove soon. Crack the claw vertically along the thickest part of one claw, breaking off the back shell exposing the flesh within. Twist and remove the lower pincer, and pour the liquid within the claw back into the broth (don’t want to lose that tasty lobster infused water!). Using your chopstick, prod the meat through the hole made by removing the lower pincer, pushing it out through the large hole in the rear of the claw. Repeat with the other claw.

Crack each joint to separate from the others and more easily coax the meat within out with your chopstick.

Return cleaned pieces of lobster shell to your pot as you go. Next, remove the carapace shell from the legs by holding the shell in one hand and the legs in the other, and pull apart. Return the shell to the broth, take the remaining legs and break into segmented pieces to allow the bits of meat within to be more easily absorbed into the broth and toss them in as well, and toss them in along with any other lobster bits you have left (but reserving the larger than tiny chunks of meat for the risotto).
Phew, got that? I promise it took you longer to read than it took the LBUH to execute. (Err, no pun intended.) OK, now continue boiling the lobster shells in the pot for about another ten minutes. Meanwhile, dice the shallot finely.

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add diced shallots and tomato paste. Saute just until golden, about 5 minutes. Add Arborio rice and toast, stirring, about 1 minute until opaque. Begin adding lobster stock by ladlefuls: add a ladleful, then stir until absorbed. Repeat until you’ve added about 5 -6 cups of the lobster stock. Umm, yeah, that is a lot of stirring. Congratulations, you’ve squeezed in an upper body workout while you’re cooking! You’ll know when to stop when the risotto seems to resist adopting any more liquid. If it seems to be thinking to itself “no, stop, no more I can’t take AAAAHHH!”, that’s when you’re done.***** Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and reserved lobster meet, and warm for about 1 minute. Stir in chopped parsley, and season to taste.

Lobster Risotto
* And I will freely admit that I am a sucker for a deep discount.

** Sound of our vegetarian audience frantically closing out of their browser windows.

*** What do you mean you haven’t seen it yet? I’m sorry, I’m not sure we can still be friends.

**** We recently attended a rehearsal dinner clambake for some friends of ours, at which a crowd gathered to watch the LBUH extract the lobster from it shell. Of course, about half the attendees were vegetarian, so they were pretty easy to impress on this score. But still!

***** If you have stock left, discard the onion, peppercorns and lobster shell and freeze for another use.

Lobster Risotto
Nutritional Facts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 371.8Sugars 2.8 gFolate 5.2 %
Total Fat 8.5 gProtein 20.1 gIron 5.5 %
Saturated Fat 2.9 gVitamin A 8.3 %Magnesium 9.8 %
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 gVitamin B-12 40.5 %Manganese 10.3 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4.2 gVitamin B-6 8.9 %Niacin 16.8 %
Cholesterol 68.2 mgVitamin C 6.4 %Phosphorus 19.6 %
Sodium 559.9 mgVitamin D 0.5 %Riboflavin 11.1 %
Potassium 512.3 mgVitamin E 7.1 %Selenium 52.7 %
Total Carbohydrate 7.9 gCalcium 6.1 %Thiamin 4.3 %
Dietary Fiber 0.2 gCopper 80.8 %Zinc 17.1 %


  1. your blog is beautiful, greedy and precise ... nice recipe!

  2. Wendy, I am so glad to see you back - was just here yesterday (and thinking of you, of course!), and what a return this is! I've been making note of the lobster prices locally - sometimes they're as low as $4.95 per pound here in MA. This is a great season-transitioning recipe as well - a little bit of summer mixed in with hearty risotto. Love it!

  3. Yum! I love lobster, and I have noticed that the price has come down. This is a great way to extend the use of an already "inexpensive" lobster!

  4. Gorgeous pictures! And some of us who don't like killing lobsters fortunately have husbands who do (or at least will).

  5. Great post! I had no idea that lobster prices had fallen so much. Perhaps it's time for a little indulgence.

  6. Still waiting for the lobster prices to fall here...keep reading about the dip. Maybe it's time to support the cause and check with James Hook Lobster Co. in Boston and have them shipped!

  7. ooh, yum - that looks great!

  8. Gorgeous.
    Lobster is a favorite of mine -- but usually too rich for my budget... will have to check out prices here in WI and see if they compare at all to those you're seeing in NY.

  9. We love Risotto and this recipe looks wonderful. Can't wait to give it a try!

  10. So cheap! I can have lobster every week. Love it just grilled with herbed butter.

  11. Oh yum, I hadn't thought to use lobster in risotto before (I can't help but just eat it on its own when I am lucky enough to get some!) but this looks really good :)

  12. OK - I was with you right up until you showed a close up of the little lobster face. Now I'm not sure I can go there! ;-)

  13. oh my. Haven't had lobster in a million years. K, maybe closer to 6 ;) I'll have to check pricing on the lobster in my area. Great way to stretch it into a full meal :)

  14. hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

  15. Killing the lobster is the hardest part, but if it means good must be done. :) You've scored by showing this as a cheap fix.

  16. I wish I could find someone to make this for me so I didn't have to do the dirty work! Looks delish!

  17. Unfortunately lobster is hardly ever on sale where I'm from but I'll keep this recipe in mind when it is.Lovely post.

  18. Like most have said this looks/sounds good, so we are making it now (Lobster $14.95 per lb in MSP). The real reason I decided to do this though is the Talking Heads Psycho Killer references, I figure if the cook has good taste in music, how bad can the recipe be?

  19. Just finished eating this for dinner. Halved the recipe since I was only cooking for two (have leftovers anyway). Very tasty and definitely worth the $7.99/lb lobster! Plus, now I have 7 extra cups lobster stock. Bisque? Chowder? Paella? It's LOBSTER WEEK BABY!

  20. Where do you find it that cheap in the city?

  21. This looks WONDERFUL! I absolutely love lobster (and risotto) so I'll definitely have to try this. I actually made a shrimp & zucchini risotto that's pretty tasty as well - here's the link in case you wanna check it out!

  22. Wait... did I just read that lobster is cheap now? Why have I not noticed this? I'm seriously going to the market this week and buying one. Even though crustaceans scare me, they taste so good I will swallow my fear if the price is right!

    Great blog, btw, I'm very glad you're back. Thanks for stopping by Peas Love Carrots! :)

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