Cooking live lobster

How do you cook lobster? I've been told you need to cook it alive.

From: Lucybon, TX

Cooking lobster is not for the squeamish, as you do need to cook it live. You can ask for them to be boiled before you buy them. Your fishmonger will be happy to oblige, and they may have more means than a simple pan of boiling water - from pressure steam ovens to microwave ovens designed for the purpose - that will achieve the task faster. You can even ask at the shop to dress it for you - removing the white meat from the claws and tail, and getting rid of inedible parts.

Cooking live lobster

Strap the claws, if this was not already done, ant tie the tail in a curled position. Then plunge the lobster, head first, into salted boiling water. Boil for 15-20 minutes, according to size. Lobster is fully cooked when the shell has turned red.

The edible part is the white meat that is found in the tail, front claws, and, the small amounts found in legs and body.

Discard the shell, the black vein running through the tail, intestines, including the greenish liver, the gills, and the sac behind the eyes.

The shell and flesh of crustaceans change color when cooked. The grey-green shell of the live lobster turns red when the lobster is cooked.

Lobster trivia

Did you know that the gills of a crab or a lobster are also called dead men's fingers?

Although there are contrary opinions about the lobster feeling pain, be sure it does not scream when boiled. This is a myth. You may hear a hissing sound, but this is the steam getting out of the shell.

Lobster and crab quickly turn bad when dead, within hours. That is the reason they are kept alive until cooked time and they are often cooked alive. Some say the legs would drop from a dead animal; but this is not always true. Many chefs kill the animal with a knife in the head just before putting it into the boiling water.

Lobsters are crustaceans, the same as crabs and prawns.