How to Cook a Lobster

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Jeremiah Tower Cooks

By Jeremiah Tower

Published 2002

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Killing a lobster before cooking is the humane thing to do and I believe it keeps the lobster meat more tender. Hold the lobster (claws secured with elastic bands) with a gloved hand at the front of the tail and back of the main body, and with the other hand cut a half-inch-wide and inch-deep slit into the shell, jiggling the knife backwards and forwards to sever the spinal cord. Leave the lobster for ten minutes before cooking it.

Before cooking a lobster, please remove the elastic bands from the claws, a procedure sadly forgotten most of the time. What could be worse than getting residual rubber flavor from the claws on your hands and then into your mouth when eating a whole lobster? Or poaching a lobster in rubber water?

If you have live lobsters and are not going to eat them for two days, the best way to keep them is to put them in boiling water for two minutes, then in a colander covered with ice until they are cold. Then refrigerate. When you are ready to eat the lobsters, go ahead with the cooking method suited to the dish, taking into account the two minutes the lobsters have already been cooked.

I give two methods to cook a lobster for two different end results. The first is for lobster meat that is to be cooked further (by itself as, or to be included with other ingredients as with a risotto, heated in a bisque, or mixed in a shellfish ragout). The second is for lobster to be eaten whole and fully cooked, hot or cold.

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