Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Wisdom of many Chefs on Lobsters.

Recycled from a number of emails and posts over the last three years.

JAMIE OLIVER has several pieces of advice, including:
-Cover a live lobster with a wet towel and it will go to sleep
-DON'T take the rubber bands off it's claws (Stan - this means you)
-Plunge it straight into really salty boiling water (he notes that Rick Stein boils his in seawater)
-Remove the black sac at the head and the strip of black running along it's back (everyone is keen on this)
His alternative to dealing with live lobsters is to buy a cooked one from a supermarket

RICK STEIN ( in his seafood odyssey) doesn't have any advice on cooking lobsters, although there are a couple of fine pictures of crustaceans. He does talk at length about how to deal with a ready cooked lobster (he suggests from a good fishmonger)

KEITH FLOYD prefers to kill the lobster with a big knife by stabbing it in the neck, cutting it in half and then grilling it. His alternative is to go to a really good restaurant and paying through the nose for it. [1]

Good Housekeeping's Cook's Book (which essentially tells you everything you need to know before you try and follow a recipe) says that the RSPCA recommend putting a live lobster in the freezer in a polythene bag for two hours before killing it.

Robert Carrier circa 1963 suggests that the most humane way to kill a lobster is to put it in warm water and then heat it up. I'm very suspicious of this, and think Good Housekeeping are more likely to be right.

If you're ever fortunate enough to be offer a selection of Lobsters, you should choose the ugliest one; the one with damage to it's shell, barnacles, even seaweed growing on it. Why? A Lobster that looks clean and nice is one that has shed it's shell recently. It hasn't grown into it. It's flesh is less dense, and there's less of it. An ugly Lobster has had it's shell for ages and fills it, getting you more lobster-meat.

[1] After this first email, Jim replied:

Does Oliver also advise spraying everyone within 20feet with saliva stinking of eels whilst also being an annoying fat lipped ******* mockney ******* ******* ******* **** aardvark ****ey***** *** **** to a cool Toploader soundtrack?

Oh and I can't say much for Rick Stein's taste in music - thank you for the CD[2] anyway Neil.

Stan - don't give up the day job

[2] I'd got Jim "Rick Stein's Musical Odyssey" from the music and video exchange. Claire had wanted to get him the Gary Glitter Party Album (only 50p!)