How to Buy Lob­ster

SAVEUR - - (re)consider The Lobster -

FO­CUS LESS ON COLOR…

Habi­tat in­flu­ences the shell tones of a live lob­ster, which can range from browns and blues to greens or even vi­o­lets. But all va­ri­eties (ex­cept the rare white lob­ster) will turn red when cooked due to a carotene-like pig­ment in their ex­oskele­tons.

…AND MORE ON SIZE

All Maine lob­sters sold will have a cara­pace (the part of the shell that cov­ers the head and legs) be­tween 3¼ and 5 inches long, and will weigh be­tween 1 and 2 pounds. The tasti­est though are in that sweet spot be­tween 1 and 1½ pounds.

COUNT LEGS AND AN­TEN­NAE

Miss­ing legs or claws, or short an­ten­nae, may in­di­cate that lob­sters have been in a tank for a while, where they’re prone to fight­ing and can­ni­bal­ism. Look for lob­sters with all ex­trem­i­ties in­tact, which may help in­di­cate fresh­ness.

LOOK FOR “SOFT” OR NEW SHELLS

Lob­sters molt—or shed their old shell and grow a larger new one—dozens of times dur­ing their lives, up to 25 times in the first five to seven years alone (which is about how long it takes for them to reach 1 pound). Af­ter that, most will molt around early sum­mer each year. The meat is at its moistest and most de­li­cious just af­ter, from July through Oc­to­ber, when it’s had a few months in a softer shell and soaked up more briny juices from the ocean. Most lob­sters you buy from Maine dur­ing this time of year will have new shells, says Cyrus Sleeper, a lob­ster­man in Spruce­head, Maine. But, to make sure, look for bright orange un­der­neath the raw claws, a shell that de­forms some­what eas­ily when poked or squeezed, and a shell that con­tains few dark scratches, a sign they’ve been drag­ging it across the ocean floor for a while.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.