FRENCH WEST INDIES
This imposing dish is the specialty of a New Age inn called Hostellerie des Trois Forces in St. Barthélemy. Astrologer-chef Hubert Delamotte makes it with spiny lobster, which has a broad tail and fiercely barbed carapace, but no claws. If you live in Florida or Texas, the equivalent would be a "Florida" lobster. Maine lobster can be prepared the same way. Whichever lobster you use, you'll surely enjoy the way the fragrance of the basil brings out the sweetness of the lobster meat. Serve with Grilled Polenta.
4 lobster tails (8 to 9 ounces each), thawed if frozen, or 4 live Maine lobsters (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each)
8 tablespoons butter, salted, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup basil, coarsely chopped, fresh
1 to 2 limes, halved
1. Preheat the grill to high.
2. If using lobster tails, cut them in half lengthwise with kitchen scissors or a sharp, heavy knife; use a fork to remove the intestinal vein running the length of the tail. If using live lobsters, kill each by inserting a sharp knife in the back of the head between the eyes; this will dispatch them instantly. Cut the lobsters in half lengthwise and remove the vein and the papery gray sac from the head. Break off the claws and crack with a nutcracker.
3. Brush the cut sides of the lobster tails or lobsters with some of the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped basil to the remaining butter.
4. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Arrange the tails or lobster halves and claws (if any), cut sides down, on the hot grate and grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Turn, using tongs, and grill on the shell sides until the flesh is firm and white, 6 to 8 minutes more, squeezing lime juice over the lobsters as they cook and brushing generously several times with the basil butter.
5. Transfer the lobsters to serving plates or a platter and serve immediately, accompanied by the remaining basil butter in ramekins on the side.