Shelling Your Seafood

Sep 26, 2020

As we approach the tail-end of the lobster eating season, there’s still some time to cook up seafood crowd favorites. When a recipe calls for lobster meat, like New England lobster rolls or a savory lobster bisque, the meat will taste freshest if you cook and shell the lobster yourself. This may seem like a difficult feat, but it’s well-worth the flavorful outcome. Below, learn how to shell your lobster for a meal that’ll be a real catch.  

Cooking Your Crustacean

With the help of the CHEF iQ Smart Cooker, cooking lobster is hassle-free. Use the intuitive calculator function to determine, and even automatically set, the time and temperature, as well as other cooking parameters. After the lobster is cooked, plunge it directly into an ice bath to halt the cooking process and make it much easier to handle. 

De-meating your lobster may seem daunting, but it’s an extremely doable task. First, place the cooled lobster on a cutting board and have a kitchen towel or paper towels handy, as the lobster can release a lot of liquid. Grip the tail with one hand and the torso with another, and then twist and pull the two pieces apart. Set the tail aside for now.
Next, it’s time to separate the “arms.” This is where the lobster’s knuckles meet the torso. Simply bend and pull to separate them. At the other end, snap and pull to detach the claws from the knuckles. 
Aside from the tail, the claws are one of the meatiest parts of the lobster. To extract all that tender meat, grab the small pincer and wiggle it from side to side until it breaks free from the claw. Gently pull the small pincer shell away to expose the meat. In a perfect world, the meat will remain intact and connected to the rest of the claw. If it breaks in the process, don’t worry, as you’ll likely be chopping the meat up afterward for your meal.
Now you’ll need to split open the large part of the claw. You can either give it a whack with the back of a chef’s knife or use kitchen shears to cut the claw shell on both sides. A nut or lobster cracker will also work if you have them in your tool kit.
Gently remove the claw meat, and repeat the process with the other claw. The lobster’s knuckles also contain a significant portion of sweet meat. Use kitchen shears to cut open the knuckles, and if the meat clings to the shell, a wooden skewer can be helpful to push the meat out.
The tail of the crustacean is the easiest section to crack. Using shears, cut down the center of the underside, which is the softer part of the shell, and open up the shell away from the meat. If there’s any green tomalley or orange-red roe on the tail, you can rinse it away or use it in your dish.

Once you’ve obtained your lobster meat loot, save the shells. The lobster’s tough exterior can be used to make a tasty seafood stock. Use the raw meat in your favorite seasonal seafood recipes, or try out the Lobster Roll recipe on the CHEF iQ App. Whatever dish you serve, don’t be shellfish and remember to share!

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