Life Style of the Lobster
Homarus Americanus, the only true
lobster, is found from North Carolina to Newfoundland and is an Atlantic
Ocean crustacean. The so-called Norway Lobster, also called the Dublin
Prawn, also called Scampi (no, scampi isn't shrimp) is similar to, but
smaller than, the true lobster. The lobster lives and feeds in rocky
sea bottoms where it hide in nooks and crevices, and scavenges the sea
for any debris that passes. In order to grow, lobsters must shed the hard
shell that protects them. When they molt, they go into hiding until
their new shell is hard. The male lobster molts when the moon is dark,
while the female lobster molts when the moon is full and bright. She will be
noticed by a male who will protect her. Lobsters take five years to
reach one pound, twenty years to reach four pounds.
The best lobster is the female lobster
when she is 'berried' or carrying the packet of bright coral eggs under
her tail. It is illegal to fish a lobster if the coral eggs show. The
coral is prized, of course, if only for it unavailability, though it
is considered a delicacy among gourmets. The green tomalley which is
the liver of the lobster is also prized as a delicacy.
Boiling lobster, steaming
A one to two pound lobster yields
about 2 cups of meat. The most common method is to steam or boil whole.
Both fishermen and Julia Child swear by steaming.
ALWAYS save the leftover shells
for a fish fumet or stock. If you don't have many shells, toss them
into the freezer. Crab and shrimp shells are excellent for fumet as
To boil live lobster: Using a lobster
pot or very large kettle, bring to the boil 2 1/2 quarts of water PER
LOBSTER. Add two to four tablespoons salt. When at a rolling boil, plunge
in one lobster at a time, head first. Lower heat, cover pot, and simmer.
Allow about 15 minutes for 1-to 1 1/4-pound hard-shell lobster, and
20 minutes for 11/2- to 2-pound hard-shell lobsters. Soft-shell lobsters,
being less dense, cook more rapidly. Lower the cooking time by 3 minutes.
To test for doneness pull at an antenna. If it comes out easily, the
lobster is done.
To steam live lobster: Fill pot
so that water comes up sides about two inches. Add 2 tablespoons salt.
Bring the water to a rolling boil, and put in lobsters, one at a time.
Steaming takes a little longer - steam lobster 18 minutes for a 1 to
1 1/4-pound hard-shell lobster and 20 minutes for a 1 1/2-pound hard-shell
lobster. Again, the soft shell lobster takes less time - reduce cooking
time by 3 minutes.