A true delicacy on the west coast, real Atlantic lobster. There is definitely a certain skill and experience that comes with cracking and eating a whole lobster that doesn’t include getting it sliced directly down the middle (which seems to be the standard in restaurants for the uninitiated). I’m still a bit too squeamish to cook a lobster myself, so it requires the help of either a seasoned cook, like my mom, or a boyfriend, with less sympathetic tendencies.
Tonight, we had some big ones. 2 lbs each, give or take. And de… licious.
To cook them, take a large stock pot, fill it with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Put in the live lobster head first. They will flip around a bit but put the lid on to ensure it comes back up to a boil as quickly as possible. Once back at a rolling boil, remove lid and cook for about 20 minutes.
To eat them, first wear something washable. And no, a bib won’t cover it. Don’t go out to a fancy dinner and order lobster in something dry-clean only. You clearly don’t know what you’re doing. You will be covered by the time you’re done.
Second, you should have a sauce that is not any more complex than butter and lemon, otherwise you won’t appreciate the flavour of the meat. If they serve you a lobster with some kind of fancy sauce, they clearly don’t know what they’re doing.
If at home, you will need lobster forks. We use escargot forks sometimes as well.
When you get your lobster…
1. Remove the front claws. Crack knuckles with nut cracker or special lobster cracker.
2. Remove small claw joint from the pinchers – twist and flex backward until you remove the fin of cartilage.
3. Crack the larger side of the claw on the thickest part. Grasp the nut cracker flat to the claw, not on it’s side. Remove meat.
4. To remove the tail, twist and pull gently against the body.
5. Squeeze tail together first, to crack, then split apart from the underside. If you’re lucky, you’ll remove the fins from the bottom of the tail.
6. Peel away top layer of the tail from the extended pieces on the body-side. This will expose the “poop-shoot”. Remove.
7. Twist off legs gently to remove as much meat from the body as possible. The leg sections are best done by squeezing out between your teeth. As a kid, I used to pick away at them for hours with a fork, but this seems to be a much more expedient and satisfying method.
8. I usually leave behind the tamale (aka green stuff) and other meat in the body for bisque but have at ‘er, if you like. There’s no sophistication in pure carivorism.
When you’re done, keep all the bits and pieces and leftovers to make bisque!