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How To Cook A Lobster

For fresh, live lobsters.

Serves 1person
live lobster
A halved, freshly cooked lobster is ready to eat - the only thing you might need to do is to crack open the claws (if they haven't been cracked already) using a hammer or a pair of lobster crackers, in order to access the claw meat.
If you have bought a live lobster, you should kill it just before cooking it. The most humane way to do this is to put it in the freezer for two hours, or put in a container and cover it with crushed ice for the same amount of time - this will render it unconscious. Then, having made sure that the lobster is no longer moving, push the tip of a large, sharp, heavy knife or a skewer through the centre of the cross on its head, and it's believed that this will kill it instantly.
Alternatively, put the chilled lobster in a large pan of cold, salted water and slowly bring it to the boil. It will die before the water boils. When the water has reached boiling point, lower the heat and simmer the lobster for around 15 minutes for the first 450g. Simmer for a further 10 minutes for each extra 450g, up to a maximum of 40 minutes. When the lobster is cooked, its shell will turn a deep brick red. Drain off the water and leave to cool.
To serve cooked lobster, first twist off the claws, then break into sections, crack the claw shell with a hammer or a pair of lobster crackers, then remove the flesh. Twist off the legs from the body, flatten with the back of a knife and then use a pick or a teaspoon handle to remove the flesh.
Next, split the lobster in half along its length by inserting a large, sharp knife at right angles to the edge of the head and press down firmly. The body and tail should split lengthways. Then cut through the head in the same way. You should now be able to separate the two halves. Remove and throw away the pale stomach sac, the gills and the dark intestinal thread that runs the length of the tail. The green liver (known as tomalley) is considered a delicacy. Remove the meat from the tail, and scrape out the soft flesh from the shell.
If any coral-coloured roe is present, it can be mixed with butter and the ground shells to make lobster butter, useful as a spread or to add to sauces. The shells can also be used to make stock.

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