Divide, conquer: how to eat lobster


August 30, 2006|By Erica Marcus | Erica Marcus,NEWSDAY

What's the best way to eat a lobster?

Start with the legs. Pull each out by the socket; break off the "thumb" of the tiny claw at the end to make a hole. From the claw down, break each segment at the joint. Using your molars, chomp on one end of the segment to dislodge the meat. Keep chewing up the segment until meat comes out the other end, then suck it out.

Break off the claws where they meet the body. Detach the thorax from the tail by twisting in opposite directions. Remove the "rib cage" from the shell and split in half vertically. Discard the inedible gills. Using fingers or a pick, extract the meat from in between the cartilage chambers.

Gently tear off the flipper shells, being careful not to tear the meat within. If the tail hasn't been split, split it now. Grasp the tail meat at the base and gently pull the flipper meat through the holes you've made. Lift the tail meat out of the shell.

We're left with the claws and "arms," each of which has three parts: closest to the body is the ischium (I'll call it the shoulder), then the merus (upper arm) and finally the knobby carpus, commonly called the knuckle. With a cracker, break these sections apart. Ease the meat out of the shoulder and upper arm; use a cracker for the knuckle.

Start with the pincer claw, whose gripper surface is sharp. Try to get the meat out in one piece. Gently break off the thumb shell and jiggle it free, trying not to break off the meat within. (If that fails, use a pick.) Whack the claw with a mallet or cracker to break the shell but not the meat. Using the cracker, you can make a hole at the tip of the claw, then, with your finger, push the claw meat out of the hole at the base.

Erica Marcus writes for Newsday. E-mail your queries to burningquestions@newsday.com, or send them to Erica Marcus, Food/Part 2, Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Road, Melville, NY 11747-4250.

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