Skip the frozen lobster. An enzyme released after a crustacean dies can degrade the meat over time, says Dr Stuart Cromarty, an expert in lobster neuroscience at Assumption College in the US.
FISH LIKE A MAN
“The more feisty a lobster, the better the meat,” says Frederick Yap, owner of Pince & Pints, a new restaurant in Duxton Road that serves only lobster dishes. The tank water should be clear and the lobster active when removed. “Also, squeeze both sides of the lobster head,” Frederick suggests. “If it’s firm, the lobster is full of meat.”
Steaming or boiling are both good ways to cook live lobsters, says Malcolm Hong, who co-owns and runs The Boiler, a restaurant in Howard Road specialising in Louisiana-style seafood. “An average 750g lobster requires around 11 to 12 minutes of boiling.” Upon boiling, however, leave the lobster upright to purge out the waterlogged head, he advises. Alternatively, steam it. Set up your stockpot and bring the water to a boil. Using tongs, grip the live lobster behind its claws, pincers pointed away from you. Place it on the colander and put on the lid (see ‘Build Your Steamer’ below). Steam until the lobster is bright red, about 20 minutes.
EXTRACT AND STAND BACK
Using tongs, transfer the lobster to a cutting board to sit for five minutes. Like other meats, lobster turns juicier when it rests, says Kerry Altiero, a Maine Lobster Chef of the Year winner.
BUILD YOUR STEAMER
You don’t need to buy a speciality seafood steamer – the items you need are probably in your kitchen already. Just flip a metal colander upside down inside a 7.5-litre (or larger) stockpot. Add a few centimetres of water to the pot, making sure the level doesn’t reach the lobster.