Luxuriously rich in flavor, yet low in fat and calories, lobster is a delicacy on its own, and a delicious addition to chowders, stews, appetizers and other dishes. And it can be more budget-friendly than you might think.
Look for lively, active lobsters that smell fresh with no hint of ammonia. Their tails should curl up or flap rather than hang down when picked up. Live lobsters can be refrigerated while wrapped in wet newspaper on a bed of ice for no more than a few hours. Cook and eat them the day of purchase by boiling, broiling, baking, steaming or including them in soups or stews. Discard any lobster that dies before you cook it. Freshly cooked lobster has a bright red shell and all meat should be white and moist, not dry or yellow. Lobster tails can also be purchased frozen. You can also buy "culls"—lobsters missing one claw.
Lobster can be cooked like crab, in boiling water. For a quicker, more humane method, stab the head just behind the eyes, bringing the knife through to the cutting board, then pressing it forward to divide the head. To prepare for boiling, kill the lobster and split it lengthwise. Remove the stomach sac and pull out the intestinal vein. Scoop out the tomalley and roe, and rinse under cold water. To prepare frozen lobster tail, defrost, then cut the inner edges of the under-shell with a pair of scissors. Clip off the fins, pull back the shell and discard. Bend the tail back to crack the joints. Rinse with cold water.