Seven weeks of baiting and checking lobster pots have me questioning everything. Ten pots were set on April 1st but two are missing and two are stranded atop the outer Stonington breakwater. My green and yellow wire pots are clearly visible from the ocean side of the 8 foot tall stone wall. Even though each coated wire pot has minimal surface area, it has brick weights for larger waves to press against. Most buoys remain markers for lobster pot locations but others are jammed into the rocks or smashed against them. Even if the pot isn’t thrown against or on top of the wall, once no buoy is attached, the specialty rope sinks to the ocean floor. Experience has taught me that even when I know where I placed a pot, it may not remain there. Which brings me to the subject of missing pots…also known as ghost pots. They are an unavoidable and highly-aggravating fact of lobstering.
Anchoring in a popular fishing area, I pulled up two different ghost pots in a single day. Lobster pots were not on my mind at the time but my anchor caught and it was necessary to pull up the pot and anchor together in order to retrieve the anchor. Both ghost pots were brought ashore with the hope of identifying the owner. A phone number on the pot was disconnected so the dilapidated wire and wood pots were thrown away by my friend at Don’s Dock. Thanks, Ian.
One of my missing pots showed up hundreds of feet away from its original location almost a week after it went missing. In a season marked by scarce bounty, the intact pot contained a single, legal-sized lobster…the only one from that day’s efforts. None of the fish I caught that day were large enough to keep so retrieving a lost pot and dinner at the same time was joyous.
Abundance prompts me to share frequently and generously but this solo lobster will be my dinner. Steaming or boiling it seems pedestrian, ordinary. A recent grilled lobster article in The Day newspaper provides inspiration. I par-boil the lobster for two minutes, split it the full length of the tail and body, rinse and dry it off. Brushing melted butter onto the exposed tail and body meat, I crack the claws and place the pieces meat-side down on a hot grill. Two minutes pressed onto the grill, flip the pieces over, brush with more butter and close the grill.
Six minutes later the butter is bubbling in the shell and the meat is opaque and tender-firm. Carefully placing the body halves onto a plate, I find the scent intoxicating…a bit familiar and a bit exotic. My mouth is watering. Moments later, I’m inhaling a delightful meal, barely able to slow my eating pace. Every bite is a buttery, smokey morsel of pleasure and I don’t touch the rest of my dinner until the lobster shell is empty. I wonder if the lobster shells would make a good stock for bisque. Will the smokey taste be too strong for stock?
I can hardly wait to use this cooking technique on another lobster. Why have I waited so long? Butter and fire imparted such deliciousness to the rich meat that I can scarcely imagine altering its divine flavor with fresh herbs or other seasonings. But I will meld new flavors with this new preferred cooking method because the next combination could become my new favorite. Grilling a lobster turned out to be pretty easy and utterly delectable so why not try something else? I think a lobster BLT sandwich is in my near future. Or maybe lobster quesadilla with some kind of mild, melty cheese. Mmmmmmm.
Who knows what my new favorite flavor combination will be. I’m open to suggestions. But first, I need more lobster. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be out on the waves seeking fresh dinner options. If you can’t flag me down, local fish markets have great prices on fresh lobster. What a great way to celebrate summer. Got lobster?