Anybody who has lived in New England for any amount of time has encountered many a lobster, both in the ocean and on their dinner plates. While the CT lobsters you see in Atlantic Seafood Market are bright red when cooked, you’ve probably also noticed that live lobsters in tanks usually have somewhat of a mottled brown color to them. This is completely normal of course, since this the usual color for a live lobster to have – heating them causes the inner protein in their shells to come unbound and for a natural pigment to be released, causing them to take on their appetizing bright red hue.
What you might not know, however, is that once in a great while, lobsters will come in several different colors other than the usual reddish brown. Due to genetic mutations, some rare and hard-to-find lobsters have come in such colors as blue, yellow, orange, calico (kind of an orange and black/brown spotted mix), white. Rarer still, some lobsters will be split in color right down the middle of their shells.
It’s estimated that only one out of every two million lobsters are blue, one out of every ten million are yellow, orange, or calico, one in fifty million are split colored, and one in one hundred million are purely white.1.
The cause could just be that as the general lobster population goes up, genetically unique lobsters numbers are growing proportionally. Others believe that since cod, one of the main predators of lobster are experiencing a dwindling population, fewer lobsters are being eaten. This could be the most sound theory, as brightly colored lobsters stand out much more than their plain counterparts, making them easier to spot by predators. Still others believe that the reason we’re seeing so many more of them lately is due to the rise of social media and communications technology, making it easier than ever before to share a unique find with the world in a matter of seconds.
As stated before, white lobsters are the most rare of all. While other unusually colored lobsters bear their hues as a result of genetic mutations, white lobsters get their unique appearance due to a partial, and in some cases total, lack of melanin within their system. Without this color pigmentation, a live white lobster will not be able to externally express any colors. However, when cooked up, they will turn as red as any other lobster and their meat will taste and look exactly the same.3
All this talk about lobster is making us pretty hungry. While lobster salad, lobster rolls, and lobster bisque are all timeless classics, we figured we’d throw you a curve and give you a recipe (courtesy of LobsterHelp.com) and send a deliciously unique recipe your way. Without further ado, here’s a recipe for Lobster Chili:
3 medium shallots
2 medium cloves garlic
1 medium yellow bell pepper
2 celery stalks
10 ounces of lobster tail meat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fish stock (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon seafood base seasoning paste mixed with 1 cup very hot water)
1/4 cup water
15oz can of kidney beans, drained
2 to 3 tablespoons homemade or store-bought chili powder
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup heavy cream3
1. Mince the shallots and garlic.
2. Remove the stem and seeds from your pepper and cut it, along with the celery
3. Chop the cooked lobster meat into large chunks
4. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until it simmers.
5. Add the pepper, celery, garlic, and shallots and then cook for 6 minutes while stirring. Continue to cook until the vegetables soften.
6. Add the kidney beans, chili powder and tomato paste, and then cook while stirring for five minutes.
7. When the mixture becomes thick, add the stock and stir then cook for 8 more minutes.
8. Add the water and cook for 1 to 2 additional minutes.
9. Add the lobster meat and the cream, and heat for one last minute. 3
1. Canfield, Clarke
Odd Colored Lobsters Baffle Scientists, Fishermen
The Christian Science Monitor
White Lobster a Rare Find
Milford Daily News, August 8, 2008
3. Author Unavailable
Lobster Chili Recipe