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Roast lobster

11 September 2006

This is a simple and effective way of boiling, baking and dressing lobster in the shell.

Ingredients

1 lobster, about 600g
Salt water or seawater
Clarified butter
Shredded basil leaves (optional)

Method

Put the lobster in the freezer for an hour. This is the most humane way of dispatching it.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. The actual amount of salt depends on the flavour you want to impart. Some chefs who want to highlight the sweetness of the flesh use from 10g to 20g. Others recommend 30g. The quantity of water and the pan size are both significant. Ideally, the lobster should fit easily into the pot and the water should be boiling throughout.

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pic 1
Drop the lobster, claws and head first into the water. Boil for five minutes (pic 1) (it takes about 10 minutes to boil a medium-sized lobster, although many books suggest as much as 15 minutes per pound). Â Â
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pic 2
By then the shell will almost have turned red. Drain and refresh in a bowl of iced water (pic 2) to keep it slightly undercooked. Â Â
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pic 3
Pull off the legs and the claws (pic 3). Â Â Â
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pic 4
Lay the lobster flat on a chopping board. To split it lengthways (pic 4), put the knifepoint in the middle of the second tail joint. Split back to the middle tail-fin in a single cut. Cut through the top of the tail and the middle of the carapace to between the eyes so as to halve the lobster. Â
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pic 5
With a small pointed knife, pull out the intestine from the tail (pic 5). Â Â Â
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pic 6
Remove the stomach sac (pic 6) from either side of the head behind the eyes. Clean out both halves of the carapace (reserving any coral, which will have started turning red, for sauces, bisques, etc). Rinse and dry the carapaces. #### #### Preparing the claws Break the claws at the natural joints. Pull off the lower sections of the two pincers.
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pic 7
One lobster claw is for cutting, the other for crushing, but the meat can be extracted from both in the same way. Hold the pincer firmly by the curved end. It should rest on the board with the ridge pointing upwards. To crack the claw (pic 7) use the middle part of a chopping knife's edge. Aim at a spot half-way along the thickest part of the claw. Chop down hard enough to cut through the top of the shell. Leave the blade in the cut and twist it sharply in both directions. The shell around the claw-meat snaps cleanly and you can prise the flesh away in an undamaged single piece. Crack open the other claw joints to remove their meat. #### Assembly and baking
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pic 8
Fill the two halves of the carapace with claw-meat. For presentation, you may invert the two halves of the tail in their shells. Brush each half lobster with clarified butter and sprinkle shredded basil over the top (pic 8). Roast for seven minutes in a very hot (230-240°C) oven.
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