Thursday 5 September 2013

Preparing a lobster

I thought I would write about something a little different, something that I know people are often not confident enough to do… preparing a lobster. I have killed and cooked (usually at the same time!) a lobster from time to time but if they are available fresh there seems little point in doing this yourself. Especially if you enjoy your lobster (as I do) served simply: cold with mayonnaise and crusty bread. This particular lobster was purchased from Folkestone whilst visiting my parents; it came from one of the seafood stalls along the harbour quayside. It was £9, which is a good price for what was a larger-than-average lobster.

First of all, you need to lay the lobster down flat and stab your knife in the head, as shown above. A thick, sharp knife is crucial when preparing a lobster; otherwise you will make a mess of it (speaking from experience) so sharpen a knife just before you start. Push the knife all the way and cut forward through the front of the head. Then turn the lobster around and cut to the back, keep going until the whole things splits into two halves.

Then there are the only fiddly bits. Firstly, you need to remove the ‘sack’ from behind the lobsters eyes, I’m pretty sure that this is the stomach, and needs to be removed from both sides of the body. This can be messy but is not too difficult. Secondly, you need to remove the digestive track, like you would if you were preparing a butterfly prawn. This is broadly in the centre but might be found slightly to one side so check both halves of the lobster. Get a knife underneath and tease it out all the way along. Discard what you have taken out and give to the cat!

That is pretty much it, so simple! It is worth preparing the lobster on a chopping board that has a channel around it to capture the juices; if you don’t have one just put your regular chopping board inside a tray and capture any juices that way. Either pour the juice back over the lobster, or (as I do) mix it with some mayonnaise as a pimped-up accompaniment. Just needs some fresh, crusty bread and it is ready to go! Try it.

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