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I’m Mari.
On Marivelous Me! you’ll find recipes, food gifts, food I’ve traveled for and food solutions. Poke around, maybe you’ll find inspiration for something you’re working on. Enjoy! 


cooking with zak & max: boiled lobster 

Our friends, Sandy and Bob, generously invite us out to the beach every summer. To kick off the weekend with them, we bring live lobsters for dinner. I know, it sounds totally anathematic to bring lobster from Manhattan to the eastern tip of Long Island but we get our lobster from the Red Hook Lobster Pound. 'Nuff said.

When Red Hook Lobster Pound (RHLP) first opened, they would take orders up until 9pm, Wednesday night. Susan's husband, Ralph, would leave Red Hook, Brooklyn at around 4am Friday morning, drive his truck up to Maine, pick up as many lobsters as ordered plus a handful more, turn around and drive back the same day. You'd go to RHLP to pick up your freshly caught Maine lobsters, drive home as quickly as possible, drop them in your pot of boiling water you've had simmering at home, and eat - very happily - some super fresh Maine lobster you know was caught only hours ago. RHLP has grown in popularity and stock many extra lobsters in a big tank now so you no longer have to place an order. I don't know how recently caught the lobsters are at RHLP any longer but they still taste pretty damn fresh to me.

From an early age, I helped and watched my mom cut up whole chickens, gut and scale fish, rip lobster tails off for sashimi (I never did this and still haven't) and boil whole lobster. I know that killing food isn't tidy; it doesn't go from being a whole animal to a pre-packaged steak on a Styrofoam tray by magic. Thus, why Zak and Max were involved. 

Zak has done this with me before. Zak's buddy, Max, likes cooking and baking so the three of us boiled up the lobsters. I showed them how to drop the lobsters in so they wouldn't splash and burn themselves. They took turns placing them in, wrestling with a few lively bugs and their anxiety. In the end, we had zero burns and quashed any uneasiness. 20 minutes later, dinner was on the table. To me, that lobster tastes like the beginning of a lazy summer weekend but I bet it tasted even better to Zak and Max. 


Here's a timetable and instructions for boiling lobster from the Maine Lobster Council.

For timing, use the weight of individual lobsters, not the total weight of all lobsters being cooked.
Choose a pot large enough to hold all the lobsters comfortably; do not crowd them. A 4- to 5-gallon pot can handle 6 to 8 pounds of lobster. Fill with water, allowing 3 quarts of water per 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of lobster. Add sea salt (to taste) to water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the live lobsters one at a time, and start timing immediately. Do not cover. Stir the lobsters halfway through cooking. Let the lobsters rest for 5 minutes or so after cooking to allow the meat to absorb some of the moisture in the shell.

My notes:

  • If you're boiling water for 8+ lobsters, start boiling your water at least 45 minutes before you think you're going to be eating. Boiling that much water takes time.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of coarse or sea salt per quart of water. So for a 4-5 gallon pot, that you fill two-thirds of the way full, use between 1/2 to 1-cup salt. 
  • Hold the body so the head points down, underside facing away from you. From about 2 inches or closer from the water's surface, release. They higher up you release the lobster, the better chance you'll splash yourself with boiling water. Ouch. By keeping the underside away from you, if the lobster decides to start thrashing, its tail won't kick up boiling water towards you. 
  • Leave the rubber bands on before boiling! You can clip them off the claws after they're cooked.
  • Once cooked, holding them so their heads and claws are dangling down, clip the very tips of the claws off over the sink. The extra liquid that doesn't get absorbed will drain out.
  • Use salted butter or just squeeze some lemon on it.
  • Enjoy!

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