Published May 1, 1997.
Should lobsters be steamed, boiled, microwaved, or roasted? Are hard-shells better than soft-shells? Are older, larger lobsters better? Here's what works.
It seemed that no matter how we cooked them--roasted, broiled, steamed, or boiled--most of the tails were at least slightly rubbery and chewy. Considering the hefty price tag, we wondered if this had to be the case.
Find the best way to prepare lobster, meaning that the meat will be tender but not mushy and firm but not tough.
We cooked three lobsters prepared in three different ways and each of them tasted equally delicious and tender. The results of this test finally made us suspect that the secret to tender lobster was not so much in the preparation and cooking as in the selection of the creature itself. Most lobsters eaten during the peak lobster-eating season of summer and early fall are in some stage of molting--shedding their old, hard shell (which they then proceed to eat to capture the crucial shell-hardening calcium) and replacing it with a soft new one. Variations in the texture of lobster meat depend a great deal on what part of the molting cycle a lobster is in. For the lobster, the hardest part of molting is pulling the claw muscle through the old shell. To make this task easier, the lobster dehydrates and thereby "shrinks" its claws. Once the lobster casts off its old shell, it emerges with nothing but a wrinkled, soft covering. In 15 minutes, the lobster inflates itself with water, increasing its length by 15 percent and its weight by 50 percent. This water expands the wrinkled, soft covering and gives the lobster room to grow long after the shell starts to harden. Lobsters are in their prime when their shells are fully hardened.list of recipes