Nothing says crazy commitment like making lobster for love.
Every Valentine’s Day, legions of lovers are taken in by the allure of making a romantic lobster dinner for their special someone.
There’s clearly something to the extravagant expense, the rarity, the … redness of lobster on V-day. Few meals will impress a lover like lobster. UNTIL.
It’s time to eat it.
Eating lobster is like playing poker for me. I do it so rarely that the rules, the hands, everything gets foggy and I have to re-learn everything. That lobster gets fierce, too! I’ve cut up my hands, had buttery tools go flying across the table, and been poked by the spikes more numerous than on a rose. (You did remember flowers – right, champ?)
Fear not! Here are some tips to help you through. After all, you want to be smooooooth – not turning as red as the lobster and muttering curses under your breath. Right?
- Cooked lobster (baked, broiled, or boiled)
- 1 lobster cracker
- 1 pair of scissors/shears
- 1 small fork
- Latex gloves (It’s really not that weird, and will save you from … smells. You can take them off after getting your lobster meat pile ready)
- Melted butter for dipping
1. Twist Claws Off, Get in There
To get started, simply find the joint where the claw’s arm meets the shoulder and twist and pull at the same time. Resist the urge to do a kickline dance with the claws unless you are on at least the 10th date.
The crusher claw is the bigger one. Take the pointy piece on a hinge and twist it off. Then use your lobster cracker to crack the shell. Make sure it’s seated solidly before committing to the crack. Voila! So much easier than a hammer. Repeat with the pincher claw. Use your tiny fork to pull out any stubborn pieces of meat.
For the knuckles (the bump between the claw and the shoulder), using shears/scissors is best. Twist them off of the claws, cut along both of the edges, and open up. This is some of the sweetest, most tender meat on the lobster – don’t miss it!
2. Pull the Tail Off, Cut it Open
Find the part of the lobster’s body where the tail is on a “hinge”. With a firm grip on the body, twist and pull the tail away.
Female lobsters will probably have bright red roe (eggs) in there. They’re certainly edible, especially if you fancy yourself a fancy caviar person. Otherwise set them aside for later – you can stir them into sour cream and cream cheese mixture for a spread, or stir them into seafood soups.
With your shear/scissors, cut down the middle (of the back side with the shell) of the tail. Crack open your cut, and simply pull the tail out. You should be able to remove the tail meat in one go. Bonus: Pull off the tail fan sections at the tip for hidden bits of meat.
3. Daring? Open the Body.
This isn’t the meatiest part of the lobster, but there is some if you want to pick through the guts for it (look at the front, near the head). Opening the body is like popping a car hood. Just grab ahold of the “top” shell part where the tail used to be and pull upward while keeping the bottom steady. Then twist to open it.
Lobster tomalley (liver and pancreas) is the light green stuff where you broke off the tail. Some people love it; so if you’re adventurous, go for it! This can also be mixed it into other dishes later.
Twist off the legs, and then roll anything hard (glass bottle, pepper mill, rolling pin, etc.) over them to crack ‘em open. It’s much easier this way – no fumbling and bumbling around with slippery tools! Though keep a steady hand on any glass. It can break when dropped on the floor, in my experience. Total mood killer.
Alternately, you can try sucking the meat out of them. Though I’d hold off if it’s your first date.
5. Dip in Butter
Either microwave some butter or just cook it over low heat. Dip it in with that fork, and beware the dreaded drippy chin. Lean forward, loverboy/girl!
And there you have it – fuss-free lobster feasting.
Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!