Your cut-out-and-keep guide to the fun­da­men­tals of cook­ing

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - NEWS - by Niall Sabongi, Chef Pro­pri­etor, Rock Lob­ster

W hen buy­ing a lob­ster, only buy from a fish­mon­ger that has a tank in the shop and make sure that the wa­ter it is liv­ing in is clear and odour-free. When choos­ing your lob­ster, look for the liveli­est one in the tank — when held, it should put both its arms in the air above its head. Give the arm a lit­tle squeeze. There should be no give in it: the harder the shell, the bet­ter the meat con­tent.

Once you have it home, place the lob­ster in the bot­tom of your fridge with re­ally wet news­pa­per or cloth over and un­der it. Keep the pa­per or cloth moist. A dry lob­ster is an un­happy

lob­ster, and never place a lob­ster in wa­ter or put ice on it. Once stored cor­rectly, your lob­ster will sur­vive 24-48 hours. I’m go­ing to de­scribe how to cook one alive, but I be­lieve

lob­sters do not feel pain. You can cook it in a court-bouil­lon (poach­ing liq­uid flavoured with veg­eta­bles) or, our pref­er­ence, in sea wa­ter. We also get our oys­ters com­plete with their sea wa­ter, from Achill Oys­ters in Co Mayo. But you can ei­ther bring some wa­ter from the beach or you can just go

mad and add a lot of salt to wa­ter at home.


Place the lob­ster in the freezer for 20 min­utes, or place it on its back for a cou­ple of min­utes to put the lob­ster into a cata­tonic state. Bring your sea wa­ter or very salty wa­ter to the boil and drop in your lob­ster. A 1.5kg (3.3lbs) lob­ster will take 8-11 min­utes to cook at a vig­or­ous boil, and should turn bright red when fully cooked. Re­move it from the boiling wa­ter at this point and plunge it into ice wa­ter for 2 min­utes to stop the cook­ing process.

At home, I like to serve lob­ster warm and let ev­ery­one dig in. You can split the lob­ster down the back with a sharp knife and give each claw a crack with the back of a knife to make it eas­ier for your guests to get at the meat.

In­side, you will see all the usual white meat, but the green stuff — the toma­l­ley — should not be ig­nored. In restau­rants, it is usu­ally re­moved, so en­joy it at home. If you de­cide to re­move it for your guests, you can keep it to make a bisque, along with the dis­carded shells. Also re­mem­ber to ex­ca­vate the legs, as the meat, which we call lob­ster spaghetti, is re­ally tasty. The bright-red roe is also delish. I think a sim­ple clar­i­fied gar­lic but­ter or Marie Rose sauce make the per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment.

Rock Lob­ster at Har­vey Ni­chols, Dun­drum Town Cen­tre, D16. Rock Lob­ster do RL at Home bar­be­cue packs, in­clud­ing par-cooked lob­ster, from €15. See rock­lob­ster.ie or @dublin­lob­ster on Twit­ter

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