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All about “Lobster”

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Health profile

Lobster has a very interesting nutritional value, being a source of several vitamins and minerals, such as copper, selenium, zinc and vitamin B12.

Active ingredients and properties

The active ingredients in lobster have not been the subject of specific research. However, we note a few studies showing interesting results on the benefits of eating fish and seafood. First, a study of more than 14,000 women showed that the more they eat fish and seafood. sea, the lower their risk of colorectal cancer 1 . Another study, carried out with Chinese men, showed that the weekly consumption of at least one meal of fish or seafood would decrease the risk of fatal myocardial infarction, compared to a less consumption 2. Currently, the beneficial effects of eating fish and seafood cannot be associated with any particular active ingredient; clinical studies are necessary in order to discover the components concerned. However, the omega-3 fatty acids found in these marine products could play an important role.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Lobster contains small amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid ( EPA ) and docosahexaenoic acid ( DHA ), two fatty acids from the omega-3 family. These act as precursors of chemical messengers promoting good immune, circulatory and hormonal functioning. Several epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (mainly from fatty fish) could exert favorable effects on cardiovascular health , including the reduction of mortality from cardiovascular diseases 3 . These fatty acids are known to reduce blood pressure , triglyceridesand the formation of blood clots .

Even if the optimal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids to consume are not firmly established, scientific evidence shows that the daily consumption of 500 mg to 1,800 mg of EPA and DHA would allow to benefit from the benefits which are there. related 4 . A 100 g portion of lobster contains only 85 mg, which is why it is important to regularly include other fish or seafood in your diet. For comparison, lobster contains 25 times less EPA and DHA than salmon, a fatty fish.

Lobster and methylmercury

Some fish and seafood at the top of the food pyramid contain significant amounts of methylmercury. Methylmercury is a form of organic mercury that is very toxic at high exposure rates. Methylmercury is the most common form of mercury in fish. In humans, methylmercury is easily absorbed into the bloodstream; it is disseminated throughout the body and concentrated in certain points such as the brain and in pregnant women or the developing fetus. Lobster is one of the crustaceans with a very low concentration of mercury. There are therefore no recommendations on the maximum frequency of consumption of it.

Most important nutrients

See the meaning of the nutrient source classification symbols

 Phosphorus. Lobster is an excellent source of phosphorus (see our Phosphorus nutrient fact sheet ). This mineral is the second most abundant in the body, after calcium. Aside from its essential role in the formation of bones and teeth, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues. It helps maintain normal blood pH . It is also one of the constituents of cell membranes.

 Zinc. Lobster is an excellent source of zinc. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. It also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the synthesis (production), the storage and the release of insulin.

 Copper . Lobster is an excellent source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals .

 Selenium . Lobster is an excellent source of selenium, a mineral that works closely with one of the main antioxidant enzymes, preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. Selenium also helps convert thyroid hormones to their active form.

 Vitamin B12 . Lobster is an excellent source of vitamin B12: a 100 g serving fills more than 100% of daily needs. This vitamin works together with folic acid to make red blood cells. It also participates in the maintenance of nerve cells and cells that make bone tissue.

Pantothenic acid. Lobster contains pantothenic acid, also called vitamin B5. Pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme in the energy use of the food we eat. It also participates in several stages of the synthesis of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters and hemoglobin. There is no recommended nutritional intake for pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), but sufficient intake.

Iodine. Lobster contains iodine. Iodine is used to make thyroid hormones, which are necessary for the regulation of growth, development and metabolism. The exact value of the lobster iodine content is not available from the Canadian Nutrient File .

What is a “portion” of lobster worth?
Weight / volume Boiled or steamed, 100 g of flesh (about ¾ cup or 185 ml)
Calories 98 
Protein 20.5g 
Carbohydrates 1.3 g 
Fat 0.6g 
Dietary fiber 0.0 g 

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.

Precautions

Lobster is a food rich in purines, precursors of uric acid. Thus, people suffering from gout must limit their consumption in order to prevent the onset of seizures. In people with this condition, there is an abnormally high amount of uric acid in the blood, causing specific symptoms, such as joint pain. The purines in certain foods help increase the concentration of uric acid in the blood, which is why it is important for people with gout to limit their consumption.

Allergy to shellfish
Consumption of shellfish causes frequent allergic reactions. The main allergen in lobster, like shrimp and crab, is a protein called tropomyosin 5 . This protein could also be the major allergen of other seafood, hence the possibility of cross-reactions. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommends that people with allergies to these foods consult an allergist before introducing new ones into their diet. It is interesting to know that an allergy to a crustacean can ultimately lead to sensitization to certain air allergens, such as dust mites 6 . The reverse relationship was also observed.

Lobster over time

The term ”  lobster  ” appeared in the language at the beginning of the XVI th  century. It comes from the Danish hummer who borrowed it from German.
The tomalli

The green substance found in the lobster cavity is called “tomalli”. It is an organ that combines the functions of the liver and the pancreas (scientists speak of hepatopancreas). In the trade, “tomalli” also indicates a preparation made up of a mixture of flesh, eggs and lobster hepatopancreas.

As an invertebrate, lobster is closer to insects and spiders than fish. Like them, it is an arthropod, that is to say that it has an external skeleton (or exoskeleton) and articulated legs. Two major commercial species are known: the American lobster, which lives in the coastal waters of the northwest Atlantic (between Newfoundland and North Carolina, especially in the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of Saint-Laurent), and European lobster, which lives in the waters of the eastern Atlantic (from Norway to Morocco), as well as in the North Sea and in certain parts of the Mediterranean and the black Sea. Lobster, lobster, crayfish and cicada are related to it, both from a zoological point of view and for their culinary uses.

European lobster was appreciated in Roman and Greek Antiquity as well as in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance when, in addition to its culinary virtues, it was credited with various medicinal properties. For cons, the XVII th  and XVIII th  centuries, it will lose popularity and is no longer considered as a ”  poor food  “, particularly in North America, where it is so abundant that it is used as fertilizer the vegetable gardens. But, as of XIX th  century, the craze of the affluent for its delicate flesh, coupled with lower inventories, will help restore the esteem popular and it will therefore be considered as a species of high commercial value.

Although it is possible, in principle, to raise lobster since we master the techniques, in practice, we do not do it, because the business is too expensive. For the time being, we are therefore content to raise the eggs in a hatchery and release the young in the ocean when they reach the approximate size of 12 cm, in order to counter the effects of fishing on populations and ensure the renewal of the species.

Culinary uses

Choose well

Lobster should be alive when purchased (unless, of course, it is already cooked) and, therefore, show some activity; the tail, in particular, should curl naturally after being straightened. The shell should be thick and hard, indicating that the flesh is abundant.

The cooked lobster should be a bright orange-red, the flesh white, elastic and opaque, the tomalli green and firm, and the eggs, when there are any, very red.

Fresh lobster from Quebec and the Maritimes is mainly caught in May and June; this is the best time to consume it.

Male or female  : there is no noticeable difference in flavor between the two, but gourmets generally prefer the female who, in addition to the flesh, provides eggs.

Preparation

Everything is edible in the lobster, except the stomach, located just behind the head, and the intestine (which resembles a small black vein going to the end of the tail), which must be removed. It happens that the tail of the cooked lobster is filled with a black and viscous matter: these are the eggs that the female was about to lay at the time of fishing, and which have disappeared. Rinse the lobster to remove them.

Culinary dishes

The most popular and easiest way to cook lobster is to boil it. Immerse it head first in boiling water (with a little salt) and put the lid on. When the water boils again, count seven to ten minutes of cooking for the first 500 g and two to three minutes for each additional half-kilo. It is well cooked when the legs and antennae separate easily from the body.

Chowder, soup, bisque and bouillabaisse  :

  • Chowder: sauté carrots, celery and chopped onions in a little butter. Sprinkle with flour, mix and add milk and cream (or just milk). Cook until the preparation thickens. Then pass it through a blender and return to the pan with the finely chopped lobster meat. Season with tabasco, salt (if necessary) and pepper. You can add the tomalli after having crushed it with a fork.
  • In Nova Scotia , chowder is made with rice, which is first cooked in milk and cream with paprika, minced onion, salt and pepper. Add the lobster meat when the rice is cooked, let it cool and put it in the fridge for at least five hours so that the flavors get stronger. We heat and serve.
  • Bouillabaisse: this grand dish is prepared with, in addition to lobster, mussels, clams, scallops, squid, shrimp and various fish (sea bream, monkfish, plaice, groundfish). Diced potatoes and turnips complete the preparation. Season with a branch of fennel, saffron, salt and pepper and serve on a crouton of bread topped with aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
  • Lobster in stock: using a rolling pin, coarsely crush the shell and the eggs of the cooked lobster. Brown these ingredients in olive oil, add chicken or vegetable broth, a julienne of leeks and carrots, grated ginger and a bouquet garni. Salt and pepper. Cook for about twenty minutes on low heat and let it brew for half an hour. Strain and pour into a bowl lined with finely chopped lobster meat.
  • Soup: sauté onion and garlic, add peeled, seeded and crushed tomatoes, cook for a few minutes, then add a fish stock or broth, cook for about 20 minutes, put in the blender and put back on the fire. Add the lobster meat and, if desired, pieces of white fish. Cook for five minutes and serve.
  • Cook the lobster in a court-bouillon flavored with tarragon, thyme, gray shallots and leeks. Break up the flesh and reduce the broth. Cook the snow peas and asparagus in boiling water for a few minutes and brown the mushrooms in butter. Place the ingredients in a soup plate and pour over the broth.
  • Cold soup: coarsely chop tomatoes, red and green pepper, cucumber, sweet onion and vegetable juice in a food processor and add the crumbled flesh of a lobster. Refrigerate one hour. Prepare a guacamole sauce with avocado, lemon juice and chopped onion. Refrigerate. Prepare a sauce by blending yogurt, lime juice and coriander leaves in the blender. Pour the vegetable mixture into bowls, add a good spoonful of guacamole and garnish with yogurt sauce.

You can also grill it after cutting it lengthwise in half:

  • Thermidor lobster: bake the two halves for about 12 minutes in the oven, basting with butter a few times. Remove the flesh from the tail and the coral, cut them finely and put them back in the shell halves. Top with a bechamel sauce, mixed with a reduction of fish and wine aroma and enriched with a spoonful of mustard, and sprinkle with parmesan. Gratinate and serve.
  • With the almond paste: brush the two halves with olive oil. Coat with a paste made of powdered almonds, butter, chopped tarragon and salt, and return to broiling in the oven until the almond paste is golden brown.

Salad:

  • with a hard-boiled egg, cooked potatoes, celery and a vinaigrette. Season with paprika;
  • on lettuce leaves with thin slices of cucumber and lemons, cherry tomatoes, melon balls and mustard vinaigrette;
  • on cold soba noodles, sesame seeds and dry roasted almonds in a pan, finely chopped Chinese cabbage, green onions, grated ginger and coriander leaves; season with a sunflower oil vinaigrette, flavored with a few drops of toasted sesame oil, tamari, wine vinegar and honey;
  • with avocado slices, orange wedges and a thinly sliced ​​fennel bulb; drizzle with mustard and tarragon vinaigrette;
  • with fiddleheads (fiddleheads) cooked to the point and finely chopped sweet onions; drizzle with a dressing of parsley, lemon zest and chives;
  • on radicchio leaves with pieces of melon and papaya and cherry tomatoes; season with a vinaigrette flavored with orange juice and ginger.

Other dishes:

  • Stuffed pancakes  : brown chopped shallots, add flour and milk and simmer until the béchamel thickens; add lobster meat and shrimps, reheat and stuff the pancakes with this preparation.
  • On pasta  : cook the lobster pieces over low heat in a tomato sauce flavored with fine herbs.
  • Spring rolls  : dip rice cakes in water to soften them. Drain and stuff them with lobster meat, avocado pieces, alfalfa sprouts, soy or radish, minced green onions and finely chopped mint, lemon balm or cilantro leaves. Dip the rolls in a roasted peanut or cashew sauce (with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and grated ginger).
  • Add the flesh to a quiche mixture .
  • Simmer in coconut milk with chili, lemongrass, ginger and green onions. Serve over jasmine rice.
  • Serve the eggs as an appetizer, after beating them in the mixer with lemon juice and oil.

Conservation

Live lobster  : it will keep for a day in the refrigerator covered with a damp cloth. Avoid putting it in water or ice.

Cooked lobster  : two days in the refrigerator. To freeze the flesh, cover it with brine (10 ml – or 2 tsp – salt per cup of water) and place in an airtight container without filling it completely. Defrost in the refrigerator.

Ecology and environment

The tomalli is considered by gourmets as a piece of choice. However, since the mid-1990s, the authorities of various American authorities (notably the Maine Department of Health) advise against consuming it, analyzes having shown that that of lobsters caught along the coasts of Maine contained levels of polychlorinated biphenyls. (PCB) equal to or greater than the standards established by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). In heavily polluted waters, heavy metals can also concentrate in this organ, as has been observed for lobster caught in Boston harbor. Finally, the tomalli can be attacked by paralyzing phycotoxinspresent in the plankton that lobster consumes and whose ingestion can cause poisoning in humans. As a precaution, Health Canada recommends not consuming more than the equivalent of two tomallis per day.

Several municipalities in the State of Maine are faced with the difficult dilemma of whether or not to participate in the aerial spraying program for the insecticide diflubenzuron , which is used to limit the ravages of Liparis. In addition to the damage it causes to the leaves of trees, the caterpillar of this moth causes severe itching and respiratory problems in people who are sensitive to it.

Diflubenzuron works by inhibiting the synthesis of chitin , an essential organic component of the insect’s exoskeleton. Without an exoskeleton, it cannot survive. However, this insecticide also acts on all terrestrial and marine arthropods, including lobster, since they also have an external skeleton. Lobster fishermen from the coasts of Maine are therefore concerned about its long-term effects on this mollusk and ask that studies be carried out to assess them.

There are less harmful methods to get rid of the liparis, manual destruction of the nests being the most effective when it is carried out at the right time, that is to say before the larvae leave the nest. Researchers are also working on the development of a spraying product based on a virus whose effects on the caterpillar are fatal without however affecting other arthropods such as lobster.

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