If you’re shelling out for the good stuff this summer, you better know how to savor this yummy seafood dish like a pro.
Lobster may be sweet, rich and luscious all on its own, but enjoying this seasonal favorite can require a little skill to uncover every mouthwatering morsel. Fortunately, with a few tricks and tips, you can spend more time eating lobster and less time attempting to deconstruct it, which will also save you some unwanted public embarrassment at the next backyard bake-off or swanky soiree.
Executive Chef Seth Levine handles some of New York City’s must-have spots for lobster bakes, including Hotel Chantelle, Penthouse808 at Ravel Hotel and The Regal, and he was all too willing to share his advice on preparing lobster without breaking a sweat.
Read on and get cracking:
If You’re Cooking It …
"Skewer the lobster tail before cooking to keep it straight when cooking," says Levine. "It is easier to extract the tail meat when it’s cooked straight rather than when it’s curled."
Break it Down
Here’s one easy lobster trick that anyone can pull off — honest. "The easiest way to break down a lobster is by bending its joints backwards or twisting it out of its joints," says Levine. "This technique can be done with every movable part of the lobster."
Don’t Forget Those Secret Spots
"The leg meat is very sweet," says Levine. "After breaking them at their joints, eat them each like an artichoke. Hold one end with your teeth and pull the leg shells down with your fingers. Another sweet secret morsel of meat is in the tail fins — eat those similar to an artichoke as well."
Enjoy The Tomalley
Don’t be alarmed if you see a grayish green, gravy-like substance coming out of the lobster’s body cavity: It's reminiscent of sweet butter and it’s totally edible. "If you’re feeling adventurous, the green lobster liver is a delicacy also known as tomalley, and has some of the best flavor," says Levine. "Give it a try. Female lobsters may have a roe sack which turns bright red after cooking. Again, it is super flavorful and lobster lovers already know to dive right in."
Get the Right Tools
"The knuckles take the most time to fish out the meat, but they are well worth it," explains Levine. "Depending on how hard the shell is on your lobster, using crackers and a lobster pick are always your best tools of choice. The knuckles have very sharp spikes or points, so doing this with your hands can be dangerous. This is where most people end up cutting themselves when deconstructing a lobster."
Take Your Time (No, Really)
"The lobster body has hidden crevices all over," insists Levine. "This takes the most time and effort to find them all. With smaller lobsters, the time and effort may not be worth it, but on larger lobsters where the legs meet the body, you will find some delicious meat."