Because I’m a Boston boy, I believe there is nothing like a good lobster feed. It truly wouldn’t be a complete summer if it passed without at least one lobster dinner.
I’m not talking about one of those warm-water critters that are usually served in restaurants everywhere west of the Hudson River and south of the Mason-Dixon Line, that don’t even have claws. No, I’m talking about a real, live, Maine lobster with claws powerful enough to crush your fingers if you give them a chance.
A lobster from New England is far more delicate with a more naturally sweet flavor. The other, often referred to as an Australian lobster tail, although tasty, cannot compare in either sweetness or tenderness. You don’t want to overcook either one, but if the tail is overcooked at all, it really does come to resemble a rubber band. There is a little more leeway in cooking Maine lobsters. In either case, it is much better when boiling them, should that be your desired cooking method, to undercook rather than overcook them.
If undercooked when you crack the shells, you can still toss them back in the water and cook them a little more. Broiled or baked, the meat is exposed and you can tell the same way as any other piece of meat or you can tell by firmness and the color as you would when shrimp are done. If the color is still a little translucent, the meat is not quite done, but when it turns white throughout, it is ready to eat.
There are a lot of different ways to cook a lobster, although from here on I’m only referring to the Maine lobster. The first thing you have to know is that unless you’re buying frozen, canned or already cooked lobster, it has to be alive. I know this makes some a little squeamish, but if the lobster is dead — unless you just saw it die — is dangerous to eat. A lobster will start to emit ammonia as soon as it dies and that can get strong enough to at the least make you very sick. All shellfish including clams and mussels should always be checked before cooking to be sure they are still alive.
The most common way of cooking a lobster is to boil it and serve with drawn butter and lemon. Use a large pot and get the slightly, salted water boiling. Put the lobster in head first and leave the bands on the claws.
Besides boiling, you can also bake, stuff or broil lobster. For these methods of cooking you start by placing the lobster on a cutting board on its back and using a sharp heavy knife, cut from the head down through the tail splitting the lobster through to the back shell. Butterfly it open and remove the sacks behind the eyes. I know some people like the green tamale as it is called, but I will normally take this out, leaving the body cavity empty except for the leg knuckles. This is where you will place the stuffing if that is your intent.
To broil or bake, pour a little white wine and drizzle a little clarified butter over the meat and toss under the broiler or into the oven. Leave the claws right in their shells. No matter how you cook your lobster, make it a Maine lobster and enjoy.
Oh, and don’t forget to save the bodies and shells for a great lobster bisque.
2 2-b. lobsters
1 stick of butter
Fill a 3-gallon pot large enough to easily fit your lobsters in halfway with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Drop the lobsters in head first. At sea level, boil 9 minutes for the first pound and 3 minutes per pound after that. Here, at altitude, boil about 13 minutes for the first pound and 3.5 minutes per additional pounds. Serve with the butter melted and lemon wedges.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter foams and solids sink to bottom, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool.
Carefully skim foam from top and discard. Pour clear butter into a bowl, leaving any solids in pan; discard solids. Can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.