Mastering The Art Of A Boiling The Perfect Lobster
Since I grew up in New England, I pride myself on knowing how to eat (eat being the key word) the best and freshest seafood. And while I am a full time seafood enthusiast, I am at best a part time seafood chef. But I would also consider myself a full time entertainer. Because who doesn't like to imbibe with their guests on shell fish and fine wine. And a Fourth of July Lobster Feast is a Koelle family tradition.
That being said, every good New England girl should know how to impress guests with the perfectly boiled lobster. After all, what is summer without lobster? So - just in time to impress your guests over the long Fourth of July weekend (yet another hallmark of New England, I might add), I have listed below the almost fool proof steps to getting that perfect texture and taste from a home-boiled lobster.
Essential to boiling a great lobster is that you need to heavily salt the water. Ideally you want the salt to water ratio to mimic sea water so be heavy handed with the salt shaker.
Secondly, and one of the most underrated tips for boiling a grade A lobster, is to add a few whole, fresh cloves of garlic. Just toss them into the boiling, salted water for a truly amazing result.
After bringing the water to a boil, you gently place the lobsters in head first (one at a time), and make sure that they are all fully submerged.
Now the real key to lobster is cooking time - while under cooked lobster (the meat is still translucent) is inedible, so too, is over cooked lobster, which is horribly chewy. Follow the times below for estimated cooking times.
1 lb: 8 mins
1 1/4 lb: 9-10 mins
1 1/2 lb: 11-12 mins
1 3/4 lb: 12-13 mins
2 lbs: 15 mins
2 1/12 lbs: 20 mins
3 lbs: 25 mins
5 lbs: 35-40 mins
The final tip I will say is that people sometimes think that size is the most important factor - i.e. the bigger the better. This is a common misconception. The larger lobsters are tougher (because they are older) and the meat is not nearly as tender or sweet. Opt for lobsters in the 1.5 lb to 2 lb range.
Finally, when the lobsters are finished, pull them out of the water with tongs and let them sit for a few minutes so the meat soaks up the additional moisture in the shell. You will notice that now they are the perfect color red.
Then - melt butter, serve and get crackin’!
For Fourth of July entertaining, I stick to the basics to go with my perfectly boiled lobsters - corn, sausage, potatoes, and ample rosé. For the ultimate summer place setting, I use my Mom’s Wedgewood bone china in Nantucket Basket pattern (a summer entertaining staple) and accent with americana style accessories. (Mariposa, Pottery Barn and Herend are some of my tablescape favorites.)
Lobster boils are a must for all summer enthusiasts but also for anyone who loves America as much as I do. Happy Independence Day to the land of the free and the home of the brave - The United States of America - this great country I call home. Now time to enjoy some lobster!