Baltimore's unsure what to make of white lobster

November 19, 1997|By Carl Schoettler

The National Aquarium in Baltimore certainly has room for Lincoln, the celebrated white lobster of Raymond, Maine. And it's sure he or she would generate a lot of public interest.

But so far, nobody has decided whether to put in a bid for the albino beastie, which his current owners, the Fishermen's Net fish market, have decided to auction.

But if you happen to buy it, Morris Martick will cook it up for you at his Restaurant Francais -- any way you like it.

"If you're willing to pay for it," qualifies Martick, who, oddly enough, has cooked a lobster in a demonstration at the aquarium.

Tony Sartori, chef at Maison Marconi, is more cautious: "I'd have to see it first. I never heard of a white lobster. I don't cook anything I don't find out if it's good or bad."

But he's a businessman.

"If people start asking for it," he says, "I'd cook it."

Probably as lobster cardinal, one of his signature dishes.

Martick likes to saute his lobsters. But they have to be less than 2 pounds to be really palatable. So Lincoln might be just right at a pound and a quarter.

"The bigger the lobster, the tougher the meat," he says, aphoristically.

Stuart Keefer, senior aquarist and crustacean expert at the National Aquarium, says lobsters can get to be 40 years old, 3 feet long and weigh 30 pounds.

"At that point in time, you wouldn't want to eat it," he says.

But it would be fun to look at. The Indianapolis Zoo, where Keefer once worked, has had a 30-pound lobster for about six years, and it's very popular. The National Aquarium has a lobster tank, and there's room for Lincoln, the mutant from Maine.

"It's definitely something that would attract people," he says.

Lincoln, Keefer says, is probably white because of a recessive gene trait, the same thing that occasionally produces a rare blue one.

Most lobsters, of course, start life sort of reddish-gray and, if caught, end up bright red in the pot.

Red, white or blue, maybe it doesn't matter. Baltimore, after all, is a steamed-crab kind of town.

Pub Date: 11/19/97

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