By Colleen Fisher Tully
• whole cooked lobster, cooled
• kitchen shears
• bamboo skewers
• lobster-shell cracker or nutcracker
1. The Tail
Bend lobster tail back slightly and twist to remove—it should come apart easily. Starting at open end, using kitchen shears, cut shell down middle of tail’s underside, as shown. Open up shell like a book; remove meat in one piece. If there is green pasty stuff (the liver and pancreas, called tomalley), wipe it away with a paper towel and discard. The same goes for any tiny eggs.
Editor’s Note: Some Canadians love tomalley! Just remember, Health Canada advises children avoid it and adults to restrict their consumption to no more than the amount found in one lobster.
2. The Claws, Part A
Twist two front legs off body of lobster. If they don’t twist off easily, use kitchen shears to snip through any cartilage. Bend small pincer back and forth until it breaks off, as shown. Carefully pull shell away from meat to keep claw intact. If meat breaks apart, use bamboo skewer to pull meat out of pincer.
3. The Claws, Part B
Using lobster shell cracker, break into large claw shell at base, as shown. Using fingers or skewer, pull out claw meat. If needed, use kitchen shears to cut into shell further, opening it like a book and lifting out meat. Make sure all hard cartilage has detached from claw meat before setting aside. Don’t forget the knuckle! Break this leg section into pieces and push out meat with skewer.
4. Reserve Shells
Now you have the secret ingredient to the most amazing soups, stocks and flavoured butters: lobster shells. If you can’t use them right away, toss them in a freezer-safe bag or container and store them in the freezer.
Editor’s Note: The skinny leg pieces have very small bits of meat you can extract with a skewer, or many cooks leave them intact to help flavour the next recipe.
Here’s how to make Lobster Butter.
From lobster rolls to risottos to decadent eggs Benedict, there’s no end to enjoying succulent Canadian lobster meat. Try it in this seafaring chef’s signature dish: Oleg’s Seafood Chowder.