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Authentic Southern Italian Cuisine
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Sumptuous Lobster: Bounty of the Sea

April 29, 2012 Carlino's Restaurant no comments

“Whole boiled lobster makes a statement as soon as it’s brought to the table; with clarified butter to enrobe each tender morsel in another layer of richness”

Italy’s extensive coastline has provided a bounty of seafood for Italians since the days of the Roman empire, but one seafood that even the emperors lacked was the North American lobster. However, the Romans feasted on the lobster’s smaller Mediterranean cousins and often served them as a centerpiece during festival meals. Even then, lobster was known as a regal food; it’s still just as prized today, but our lobsters are larger and even more tender than the lobsters the Romans enjoyed.

Lobster’s history as a favorite food has been a checkered one. From the heights of a Roman emperor’s table, they became a common dinner for working-class families in colonial America. So plentiful that they washed up on New England shores without requiring a net or a boat to catch them, lobsters were a frequent and frugal meal for even the humblest coastal communities. As these villages prospered and grew into towns and cities, the people in them kept their taste for succulent, buttery lobster served hot from a pot of spiced poaching liquid or cold in a seafood salad.

When families moved westward to seek their fortunes, they took their taste for lobster with them. However, importing them transformed them from an inexpensive treat to a costly delicacy that most people reserved for only the most special occasions. Business mogul and famed gourmand Diamond Jim Brady could afford to indulge his taste for lobster, and he took advantage of it, often eating two for lunch and as many as half a dozen for dinner. Diamond Jim’s love of lobster made it a sought-after luxury on all the best tables as others modeled their meals on his – albeit with smaller portions.

Once lobster found its way back onto elegant menus in the early 20th century, it’s never left them. When you want to celebrate a big event or make an impression on your date, you dine on lobster. Whole boiled lobster makes a statement as soon as it’s brought to the table; with clarified butter to enrobe each tender morsel in another layer of richness, it’s an incomparably delicious delicacy. You’ll always remember an occasion when you order a whole lobster.

Lobster also shines when it’s part of another dish. Lobster Newburg, lobster thermidor and lobster salad have all had their star turn, but today, the most popular way to enjoy lobster has a distinctly Italian flair: lobster fra diavolo. Although it has plenty of Italian flavor and has deep roots in Mediterranean coastal cooking, this spicy, tangy take on lobster is a Long Island original. Its spicy tomato-based sauce and tender bites of lobster echo peppery Neapolitan seafood dishes, but it’s a New York dish.

Whether you like your lobster whole or gracing another dish with its tender sweetness, you can enjoy it without guilt. As sumptuous as it tastes, lobster only has about 80 calories and a single gram of fat per serving. This is one indulgence that’s as good for you as it is delicious, so you can even save room for dessert.

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