Last weekend was Brittany’s turn in the kitchen. Weeks ago, she had expressed interest in something chocolate (again). When the time came for her to decide, however, she threw a curveball. Lobster, she said. Just like a whole lobster, in the shell? I asked. Yup. I explained that we would be purchasing the lobsters live and cooking them, and while she hesitated, she agreed and we went forward with the plan. Everyone was excited – because hey, it’s not every day there is a lobster dinner at the Mantsch house!
Brittany and I went to the store to buy our lobsters and a few other items. Once the lobsters were in our cart, however, she was no longer interested in getting near the cart. Poor girl – she was worried the lobsters would somehow crawl out of their bag and pinch her. Explaining that their pinchers were secured by rubber bands was not enough to change her mind. I pushed the cart to the checkout, and I placed the lobsters in the car for the ride home, and I was the one that placed them in the refrigerator until it was time to cook.
Unfortunately for Brittany, the whole “mind over matter” thing didn’t work for her when it came to the lobsters. She couldn’t bring herself to place them into the boiling water. (I had to help, and we let Brandan drop one, as he was begging to do it) She was afraid of them. And when it came time to eat, and Brandan had devoured every minute piece of lobster, John and I had our fair share, and Matt had his obligatory “bite” (he said he didn’t like it – but he doesn’t like seafood too much), Brittany was still working through hers. She finally gave up – while she said she enjoyed the taste, she couldn’t get over that the claw meat looked like a claw. Honestly, I’m not a squeamish person when it comes to food, so it’s hard for me to totally empathize, but I felt for her. She was so excited about this meal, but her fears got the best of her. She did try throughout the process, though, and I commended her for that. (We also thanked her for a lobster dinner, because it was delicious!)
If you can handle cooking live lobsters, then this is a very easy, straightforward process. The ingredient list is short (lobster, water, maybe some clarified butter), so the hardest part will be getting to the meat! It’s well worth it though – especially with the claw meat, which is so sweet. Yum!
How to Boil a Lobster
First, make sure you choose live lobsters, and choose those that look lively and healthy in the tank. (You don’t want sluggish or sickly lobsters – so make sure they’re moving around a bit, and their eyes look good.) Buy them as close to when you expect to cook them as possible. They can stay for a while in the refrigerator (they’ll go to sleep, more or less), but it shouldn’t be for more than a few hours. When you’re ready to cook, boil a large pot of water. You can put some salt in the water if you choose.
Once the water comes to a boil, remove the rubber bands from the lobster claws and grasp them by their abdomen (they won’t be able to reach around and pinch you this way). Place them head-down into the water and bring the water back up to a boil. (I had a pot large enough to cook all of our lobsters at once this way) Boil until the lobsters are completely done – their shell should be bright red all over. The meat will no longer be translucent at all. Here are the times for various sizes of lobsters:
1 lb lobsters – 5-7 minutes
1 1/4 lb lobsters – 8-10 minutes
1 1/2 lb lobsters – 10-12 minutes
2 lb lobsters – 12-14 minutes
3 lb lobsters – 15-18 minutes
I cooked ours for about 10 minutes (each was about 1 1/4 lbs) and they were perfect.
Need help eating the lobster? Here’s a tutorial. I have found that a pair of kitchen shears makes getting through the shell quite easy as well. Enjoy lobster meat unadorned, dipped in clarified butter or ghee, or incorporate the meat into delicious recipes like lobster risotto, lobster bisque, or a salad.