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