Martha Stewart Living Magazine
Lobster may be considered
a delicacy, but cooking one requires only the most basic of
techniques: boiling or steaming. An easy lobster
meal can afford you the pleasure of sitting down with your
guests this summer and enjoying the crustacean's richly
flavored meat and sweet, briny juices.
The home lobster boil
begins at the fish market. Purchase lobsters within a
day of when you plan to use them, and choose ones that are
not only living but also lively. A 1-1/2 pounder is an
ample individual serving. Culls, which are missing one
claw, are often less expensive and good for lobster salad.
If you don't live near the
North Atlantic -- the American lobster's habitat -- consider
searching the Internet for overnight delivery.
Lobsters can be shipped just about anywhere for home
Store lobsters, with their
claws banded, in the refrigerator until cooking time.
Rest them on moist seaweed (if your market can provide some)
or damp newspaper in an open bag.
Some diners prefer the
more intense flavor that results from steaming, but boiling
is the more traditional method. Since there is no
telltale sign for doneness, always use a timer.
Serve lobsters on a table
set with lemon wedges, melted butter, bibs and plenty of
napkins. Also provide tiny forks, nutpicks and
nutcrackers for your guests to get at the succulent meat.
Working on the segmented
shells with bare hands and sucking every morsel out of every
last leg is part of the fun.
Piling tender meat on a
buttered, toasted bun for the classic New England lobster
roll, though, is just as enjoyable. Whether in the
shell or out, lobster is a welcome indulgence.
lobsters are larger than 1-1/2 pounds,
add 1 to 2 minutes per quarter pound to the cooking time.
Let cooked lobsters stand until cool enough to handle, 6 to
Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarse or sea salt (for boiling
4 lobsters (1-1/2 pounds each)
Fill a very large (4-gallon)
stockpot three-quarters full with cold water.
Bring to a rolling boil: add salt.
Plunge lobsters, one at a time, headfirst into the water.
Cook, uncovered, 12 to 14 minutes (from the time lobsters
Fit a very large stockpot
with a steaming basket
(or use a round wire rack or an inverted metal colander).
Fill pot with cold water just to reach bottom of basket.
Cover; bring to boil.
Quickly set lobsters in one layer in pot (or cook in
Cook, covered, 15 to 17 minutes.
to eat a lobster
Some people love the
green liver, or tomalley, from the lobster's carapace, or
mix it with lemon juice or butter and spread it on crackers.
Remove lobster from pot
tongs; let cool.
If you like, snip the tips of claws and let liquid drain.
Twist claws with their knuckles from the body.
Separate knuckles from claws.
Crack knuckles open; remove meat.
Grasp the part of the
claw that resembles a "thumb," and bend it back to snap it
Crack claw in half below
thumb with a
nutcracker; remove meat.
Pull off legs; use a
rolling pin to ease meat out of each, applying pressure from
tip to base. Twist tail from the
joint where it meets
Pull off tail fins.
tail backward to crack off the end part of the shell.
Use your fingers to push
tail meat out larger end; remove with a
1-1/2 pounds cooked, shelled lobster meat (about four 1-1/2
chopped into 1/2-inch pieces.
2 tablespoons mayonnaise.
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives (optional).
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or chervil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or to taste).
Coarse or sea salt.
Freshly ground pepper.
8 top-split hot-dog buns.
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted.
together lobster meat and mayonnaise.
Stir in herbs (if desired) and lemon juice.
Season with salt and pepper.
Refrigerate, covered, while preparing rolls, or up to 2
Heat a large heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat until
Lightly brush the outside of buns with butter; transfer to
Cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 1-1/2 minutes
Spoon about 1/2 cup lobster mixture into each bun.
*The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa,
California, Saturday, July 2, 2005.
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