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To a lobster lover even the mention of delicacy dipped in melted butter will have a mouth watering effect. Eaten alone this delicious crustacean with large pincers makes a wonderful meal. But it can also be served with pasta as with lobster terrazinni and lobster fettucini. Lobster is used in seafood gumbos, quiche, salads and numerous other eye popping recipes. Today, it is a simple matter to purchase your own lobsters from most local grocery stores or seafood suppliers and prepare them right in your own home.
All live lobster will vary in color ranging from a dark greenish blue to a reddish brown. Once the lobster is cooked, no matter what it's previous color, it will turn a bright red. Although lobsters can be bought frozen, they taste better when caught or purchased live and cooked just prior to serving. If you are buying your lobsters live you will want to select the most active ones in the tank. The average adult appetite can be satisfied with a lobster that's weight is around 1 1\2 pounds. If you are using the lobster in a special recipe you might want to purchase one that is approximately 2 1\2 pounds since this will yield about 2 cups of meat and can feed two or more people.
When you bring your live lobster home it should be stored in the refrigerator but do not put it directly on ice. Try to bring the lobster home on the day you will be cooking it since they do not do well when stored over night. If you'r using your lobster for a salad or cold dishes you will want to use pre-boiled lobster instead of the live ones. Any additional cooking of a lobster tends to toughen the meat and make it less palatable. In most cases with live lobster the preference is to either steam or boil for the best results. If you plan to steam your lobster fill a large pan with 1 1\2 inches of sea water, or if this is not available simply add 1 tablespoon of salt to the same amount of tap water. In the bottom of your pan place a rack that will stand a tiny bit above the water and bring the water to a boil. Place the lobster on top of the rack and cover the pan. When the water begins to boil again allow the lobster to steam for 5 to 12 minutes, depending on the size of your lobster. Lift the lobster out with tongs and allow it to drain before serving it whole with melted butter and lemon wedges.
Remember that if your lobster is 1 to 1 1\4 pounds it will need to steam for 5 to 7 minutes. If the weight is 1 1\2 to 2 1\2 pounds it will take between 9 to 12 minutes and if it is larger it should be steamed for 5 minutes for the first pound plus four minutes for each additional pound. Most of the lobster meat is in the claws and tail of the lobster. To eat a lobster you should begin by breaking off the claws and cracking them with a nut cracker or lobster tool to get the meat out. Then take the lobster in your hand being careful of the heat and bend it backward until the tail separates from the body. Break away the flippers and using a cocktail fork push the tail meat out the front in one single piece. Or you can cut the underside of the tail with a sharp knife then remove the meat with a fork. Next, lay the body of the lobster on its back and break or slice it open down the long part of the body. This will expose the gray green tomalley or liver and coral colored roe that is found in female lobsters. This is considered a delicacy and the meat can be extracted from the small legs by sucking it out.
To boil a lobster simply fill a large pot with sea water or water with 2 tablespoons of salt added. Make sure the water will completely cover the lobsters. Bring this to a boil and drop in the live lobster. Allow to boil according to the weights and times given above. Remove the lobster from the pan with tongs and allow to drain before serving. If you want to prepare your lobster to serve at a dinner party you can split the back of the tail with a sharp knife to expose the tail before placing it on a plate. Garnish with melted butter, a sprig of parsley and lemon wedges.