Saturday, August 19, 2006

Of Lobster Claws and Cream of Crab Soup

We went to Maryland’s eastern shore recently for a quick get-away and some good food. We came back from Ocean City well fed on fresh seafood and with new appreciation for restaurants in Maryland’s beach town.

One of our discoveries was an award-winning cream of crab soup. For the last two years, the Ocean City Downtown Association has sponsored a crab soup contest among local restaurants. Last year the Marina Deck’s soup took secondplace, and this year they swept the field. One taste of chef Dennis Kalchthaler’s creation and you’ll understand why.

While we enjoyed their prize-winning soup, Carole Spurrier gave us a Marina Deck lesson on lobsters. Did you know that…?

  • American lobsters are found not only in Maine and Massachusetts, but also along the east coast of North America, from Newfoundland to North Carolina.
  • Lobsters grow by molting (shedding their skins) 25 times in the first 5 years of life; an older lobster only molts every 4 or 5 years.
  • It takes about 7 years for a lobster to reach 1 pound, the minimum legal size. After that, they grow just a pound every 4 years.
  • There are limits on the size of lobsters that can be taken in U.S. waters, so if your dinner is more than 8 pounds, it’s probably from Canada.

There’s a trick to steaming a really large lobster. Because the claws are so thick they take longer to cook. You steam them until the tail meat is tender then remove the tail and continue to cook until the claws are done. Of course, if you want to cook a lobster like the one in the photo, your first challenge will be finding a steamer pot big enough!

For famous cream of crab soup, and lobster cooked just right, you can’t beat our OC!


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