Arguably the quintessentially classy summertime meal is lobster — whether it’s served whole,in a salad, as part of a bisque or in a lobster roll. (To read about Steve Mosco’s seven seafood restaurant picks, click here.)
But before you get around to consuming your crustacean, there’s that thorny issue of figuringout how to pick the best one for your meal.
According to Steve Jordan, owner of the family-run Jordan’s Lobster Farm out of Island Park and Brooklyn, it needn’t be an intimidating task.
“Just make sure it’s alive and moving,” he explained.
“People also have preferences for femalesversus male. Although with the female, you getthe red eggs [roe] as a bonus.” Given the fact thathis family has been peddling lobster for 50 years, he ought to know. Here are some other tips for picking what could end up being one half of a surf and turf dinner.
1. Liveliness is one definitive factor in making sure of the freshness of your crustacean. If it’snot squirming, lifting its tail and moving its legs furiously when you pick it up, best to move on to the next one in the tank.
2. In this part of the country, the dominant species of lobster that you’ll find at your local fishmonger is the Maine lobster, the double-clawed denizen of the cold North Atlantic. Spiny lobsters reside in considerably warmer Caribbean waters and are also caught in the colder depths off of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. These are usually the source for lobster tails ordered at
3. Lobsters shed their shells as they get larger. While soft shell lobsters are easier to shuck, you get less meat per pound, (roughly 30 percent), particularly in the claws, where the meat in hard shell lobsters is about double that of the soft shell variety.
4. Size doesn’t necessarily matter in the lobster world. While opinions differ as to the tastiness of larger lobsters versus their tinier counterparts, what is true is that the larger one is, the more difficult it is to cook evenly.
5. Color is a complete non-factor. While the varieties include green, black and green, they all turn a bright red when they’re cooked.
6. There should never be any kind of odor coming off a live lobster. If there is one, be quick to move on.
7. Lobsters are solitary by nature and when put within the confined quarters of a tank, will often fight to the death. Lobsters with longer antennae means that they’ve been placed in its new watery home very recently.
8. Once purchased, lobsters should be cooked as soon as possible. Upon removal from the water, its powerful digestive enzymes start to eat away
at its inside, decreasing the amount of meat you stand to get from your recently purchased shelly friend.