Seafood has always been a staple cuisine of my childhood, and lobster itself was as standard as bread and butter. Because of this, the various ways of preparing a lobster have become second nature to me, and I want to share these methods with all my shellfish-loving friends! It may seem like a messy and daunting task to handle a live lobster but I assure you it's not as intimidating as you might have imagined. The mess is something that’s tough to avoid - but that's what aprons and newspapers are for! Let's dive in.
For the sake of simplicity, lets assume we are preparing a classic New England favorite: the Lobster Roll.
First thing's first - LAY DOWN THE NEWSPAPER. Prep your space by thoroughly covering the work area with newspaper. This will help prevent splatter from getting everywhere. Next, prepare the tools. You’ll need a hammer and a pair of decent scissors. Make sure they’re thoroughly cleaned for food handling. Now we are ready to get started!
The most common size for a lobster is anywhere between 1.25-1.75lb. When steaming this size lobster, you’ll want to allow them approximately 12-15 minutes of steaming time. You never want to overcook the lobster because this will result in some chewy, tough meat. Instead you can always steam them through, check for doneness, and if it's still not cooked through, then no harm in tossing it back into the steamer for an additional few minutes. How do you check for doneness, you ask? Pull back the shell of the head from the midsection (just slightly) until the innards (tomalley) are visible. If you see a dark colored liquid then the lobster needs more cooking time. However, if a light greenish grey gelatin-like paste is visible, then the lobster is good to go.
Time to talk dissection. Once the lobsters have cooled, you’ll need to start the de-shelling process by disassembling the crustacean. See the picture before for guidance.
Lastly you’ll want to use the scissors to cut through each segment and remove the meat. The hammer should only be necessary to crack the claw if the scissors aren’t getting through. Now that you’ve deshelled your lobster, the rest is up to you!