We’ve survived a pandemic (so far). That is huge. We should all congratulate ourselves and celebrate our good fortune for getting through 2020, while taking reverence for those who have lost their lives, jobs, or who are just suffering. Welcome to 2021.
What better way to celebrate in California than getting and cooking fresh lobster? One year I had the brilliant idea that I was going to free dive and hunt for my own lobster. So, on day one of lobster season (late October) I bought a fishing license, grabbed my snorkel gear, threw on my wetsuit, and headed to Goleta Beach around dusk.
I was doing it, determined to catch one. I’d done my homework and interviewed many local lobster fishermen. They told me, “There are plenty. They are crawling towards shore.” It was dark and cold. I could only think of how many sharks were swimming around me.
We dove and dove and dove, surrounded by kelp. We could barely dive to the sand, and we saw zero lobster… but the kelp gardens, they were spectacular. We swam through and around them. So, an hour and a half later and empty-handed, we went to try a different method: dropping the round lobster net off the pier. Again, nothing. But we weren’t defeated. We went and ate clam chowder at the Goleta Beachside Bar and were warm and happy.
Since I am ill-fated to be a successful lobster diver, I now go to the Santa Barbara fish market on Saturday morning and buy them. I ride my bike over, up the difficult Cliff Dr. hill with backpack in hand, and alternate between each proprietor.
My two favorite vendors are @garriganseafoodco and @rainmanlobsterandseafood. It’s about $100 for 4 fresh lobsters, and these are my favorite lobster dishes to make. (Keep in mind, lobster season is between October and March.)
Lobster with drawn butter and mashed potatoes
Put your live lobsters in the freezer for 45 minutes before you cook them. This renders them unconscious.
Get a HUGE boiling pot, and add your water and salt. This is a good time to boil your potatoes, too.
Once boiled, throw lobster in to cook for about 7 minutes a pound, and 3 minutes a pound for any additional pounds.
Melt the butter and make mashed potatoes while boiling.
Take out your lobster and plate with butter and potatoes.
When you are ready to eat, twist heads off, cut tails, and dip in butter. It’s really that simple!
Kosher salt 3 Live lobster 4, butter 1/2 cup on the first one Celery stalk, finely chopped 1 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 Extra lemon for squeezing Tablespoon chopped fresh chives 1 Tablespoons mayonnaise 3 Freshly ground black pepper Brioche hot dog buns 6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature 2
Pour water into a large pot to a depth of 1"; bring to a boil and salt generously. Add lobsters, cover, and cook until bright red, 8–10 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
Crack lobster shells, pick meat from tail and claws, and cut into ½” pieces. Mix lobster, celery, lemon juice, chives, and 2 tablespoons mayonnaise in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and add more mayonnaise, if desired.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread flat sides of buns with butter. Cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side; fill with lobster mixture.