Really cheap (but small) lobster today and tomorrow

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little guys
You've heard about the plague that's sinking lobster prices so far that Maine fishermen are refusing to take their boats out and their brethren in Canada are organizing blockades? Catastrophic climate change An unseasonably warm winter is the reason that populations of Homarus americanus have exploded and caused such hardship for the folks that pull them from the waters. But in restaurant kitchens and in some retail establishments it's resulted in a something of a happy glut, though we're seeing nothing like the $1.90 per pound that the fishermen are getting from the dealers.

You can get them direct from Maine at embarassingly low prices but the shipping will kill you, so it's better to pay higher prices at, say, the Fish Guy which has Nova Scotia lobsters for $19 per pound (up from $13 last week). Dirk's has Maine lobsters for $16-$18 per pound, depending on weight, and Supreme Lobster's retail outlet in Villa Park has them for a very reasonable $13-$14 per pound.

But then there's Hmart: $5.98 per pound!

Hold on there. These aren't the Maine lobsters that are causing so much trouble, but smaller ones from Central America—which doesn't mean necessarily mean they're not as good. It is just possible that warmer waters make them yield softer, less fatty flesh, according to Supreme's Carl Galvan. They're smaller too, about 1 1/4 pounds, a weight that turns out to be cyclical. "In a year or two we may only be able to get huge ones for the season."

I boiled and grilled a half dozen of them this weekend and left the kitchen looking like an extraterrestrial crime scene. But they were tasty, giving up sweet, firm flesh—if not in massive abundance, enough to satisfy four of us and justify the effort.

You could wait until they get bigger, but not at these prices: Hmart's sale only lasts through tomorrow.

Hmart, 801 Civic Center Dr., Niles, 847-581-1212

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