Of all the shellfish out there, lobster is the type that gets the most attention. It’s seen as far more exclusive than crab, and even more so langoustines (which are most commonly consumed as scampi). Yet it can also be the centre of controversy over cooking methods, due to the debate over whether it should be dropped live into a pot of boiling water.
However, this should never put you off eating lobster. Firstly, there are many scientists who have said the brains of crustaceans are, like those of insects, too undeveloped to feel pain like we do, with a number of studies backing this up.
In addition, the fact is that many cooks no longer throw the lobster in the pot live. Instead, common practice is to kill it instantly by cutting through its head right down the middle with a large knife, or numb them by putting them to sleep in a freezer - they are, after all, cold-blooded.
Of course, if you order rock lobster from us, you can get it delivered fresh and already very much dead and split, so if even the idea of killing a lobster yourself is something you would balk at, fear not - the deed is done and what you have is ready to cook. However, we can provide it live if you are happy to take care of this as you see fit.
The great thing about lobster is that it can be served up in a huge variety of ways. This ranges from having it largely in its shell, from which you can pluck its tasty meat, or take the meat out of the shell and put it into something else.
Among the best ‘shell on’ options is lobster thermidor. Thermidor is not a style of cooking, but a type of butter that you will make separately and add to the lobster later. It is made by adding to normal butter a combination of mustard, Tabasco sauce, white wine, parmesan cheese and herbs like shallots, parsley, tarragon and paprika.
The lobster itself should be boiled whole and then the claws should be snapped off and the body cut down the middle, with the claw meat added to the head cavities in either half. The BBC Good Food Guide suggests doing all this the day before cooking, with the lobster kept fresh in the fridge overnight.
After this, the lobsters are grilled and then served with the butter and a selection of vegetables and sides.
Other shell-on options include a whole lobster with a stuffed and baked filling in the middle, or chilled lobster tails served as a starter.
Shell-off lobster dishes include grilled lobster tails, where you remove the tail flesh whole from the shell and grill it.
Alternatively, you can use lobster meat in a myriad of ways. This includes classics such as lobster Newburg with rice, in a soup (lobster bisque), or in a stew or salad.