How to prepare a lobster
Killing and preparing your own lobster might seem daunting but it is the best way to get the most flavour – plus you can rest easy that you’ve dispatched it as humanely as possible.
Sometimes shop-cooked lobsters are over-cooked and dry. Like many things, it’s much better if you do it yourself.
Blue-black in colour, a live lobster will lose a little weight during cooking. As a rule of thumb, an 800-850g lobster will weigh about 750g once it’s cooked.
How to humanely kill a lobster
- Put the lobster into the freezer and leave it for 2-3 hours (the cold will make it go into a deep sleep), then drop it straight into a large pan of rapidly boiling, well salted water (30g salt per litre).
- Bring back to the boil and cook for 15 minutes, adding an extra minute for every 100g in weight over 850g. If you’re not eating it straightaway, drain, leave it to cool, then chill and use within two days.
How to remove the meat from a cooked lobster
- Twist off the thin, spindly legs and discard.
- Twist off the claws and break each into three at the joints.
- Crack each claw open with the back of a large knife and remove the meat. Slice open the meat from the largest part of the claw and remove and discard the thin, flat piece of cartilage from the centre. Remove the meat from the rest of the claw with a lobster pick, keeping the pieces as large as you can.
- Place the lobster, belly down, on a chopping board and, using a large, sharp knife, cut it in half lengthways, first through the middle of the head, then turn it around and cut through the centre of the tail (see image above).
- Separate the two halves, then remove and discard the dark intestinal tract, which runs along the top edge of the tail meat. There might be a little on each half.
- Pull out the stomach sac – a slightly clear pouch – from the head section and discard. Lift out any pieces of red roe, then scoop out the grey-green liver (tomalley) and any curd-like juices with a teaspoon and set aside.
- Scoop out any other loose matter from the head sections and discard.
- Finally, lift out the much-prized tail meat from each half.
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