How to clean a lobster, from A Collection of Fine Free Recipes by Bruce Moffitt, Chef and Restaurant Owner
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CLEAN AND COOK A LOBSTER

Some people, myself included, think that there may be nothing better than a properly prepared lobster. The word "properly" is of great importance. To begin with, lobster, as with all seafood, must be impeccably fresh. First check the lobster visually. It should be wet and glistening. The eyes should be bright, and none of the parts should be broken or missing. Give it a good smell. It should smell fresh, and of the sea. It should be lively, and respond to stimulation, and should give the overall impression of being rather fierce and having just left the ocean.

If the lobster passes these tests, you have a choice of two ways to proceed in the cooking. The first, and most common is to boil the lobster. To boil a lobster, select a large pot that will easily hold the lobster or lobsters you wish to boil. Fill it with enough water to easily submerge the lobsters and bring the water to a boil. When the water is boiling, grab the lobster or lobsters behind the head, and drop them head first into the boiling water. Bring the water back up to a boil. For the usual 1 1/2 pound lobster, boil about 15 minutes, remove and drain. The lobster is now ready to pick apart and eat. At this point you can also split the tail for a fast broiling, or the meat may be removed from the whole lobster to be used in more complicated dishes. Throw out the dark intestines and the white gill "fingers". The green is the liver, or tomalley, which is quite good and should be saved, and if you happen to have a female, the coral, or eggs are also delicious.

The second way of preparing the lobster is to remove the meat from the raw lobster. To do this, place the lobster on its belly and insert a small sharp knife in the middle of the back where the head joins the body. This severs the main nerve and kills the lobster instantly. There may be a bit of movement after this, but the lobster is dead and this is only muscle reaction. Twist off the tail. The meat may be removed from the tail by cutting down the inner side with a strong pair of shears and pulling it out, or you can use a cleaver or heavy knife to cut the tail into crosswise slices, and cook it with the shell on. Using the scissors and any other convenient tools, remove the meat from the rest of the lobster. This is rather tedious work, but well worth the effort. Again, save the liver and any coral that might be there.

The meat is now ready to be used in any of your favorite lobster recipes.



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