Lobster Flavor Profile
Lobster has a firm texture and a sweet, mild but distinctive flavor. Claw meat is more tender than the tails and knucles or "arms".
Varieties of Lobster Tails
- American Lobster Tails (Live Maine Lobster)
- Australian Lobster Tails
- Spiny Lobster Tails
Lobsters come in a variety of colors ranging from brownish, to rust-red, to green-brown, to bright blue. If purchasing live lobsters, weight ranges start at "chics" which are 1 - 1 1/4 pound, and go up to up to sizes over 6 pounds.
Typical Wholesale Products
Fresh Live, Frozen Tails
There are a number of specific culinary features pertaining to lobster.
- If using fresh lobster, be sure that they are still alive before you prepare to cook them. You may choose to kill you lobsters immediatly prior to cooking, but they should be alive up to that point. Dead lobsters deteriorate very quickly and the meat disintegrates.
- The female tails may have two black sacks which, if punctured, release a black liquid which may stain the white meat. These sacs are the egg sacks (roe). If cooked they turn red. If the meat is stained while removing the sacks this is not a problem as far as eating the flesh goes.
- Lobster Tomalley (Tomale) - along with the roe, tomalley is considered a delicacy and is used for making some sauces. It is the liver & pancreas of the lobster and turns green when cooked.
- July 28, 2008 -- The FDA warned consumers to avoid eating tomalley in American lobster (also called Maine lobster) because of a potential contamination of dangerous levels of toxins that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning. The liver & pancreas (tomalley) may accumulate environmental contaminants , but these are not passed on to the meat of the lobster. Cooking doesn't eliminate paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins.
- Occationally there will be a white substance covering a cooked lobster tail. This is the blood of the lobster, which is clear when raw, and white after it is cooked.
- White Foam - the white foam floating on the water after cooking the lobster, and sometimes appearing in the cooked tail if cooked in the shell, is "lobster fat" or "lobster protein" and is normal.
- Tail texture - if you have cooked a frozen tail and it is mushy, ragged and disintegrating after cooking then it is bad. It was problably a dead, or very near dead, lobster when it was processed. Return it for credit. The texture should be firm and "clean", with the exception of the above mentioned characteristics.
Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. Frozen available all year long.
Live Lobster Storage
Most people do not have a sea water live tank for their lobsters, so the best way to store them is in a cool place between 34 - 38 degrees. Wrap in seaweed, wet towels or wet newpaper but do not store in cold fresh water as this will kill them.
Lobster Nutritional Information
based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.
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David Buchanan is a professional chef and author of Chefs-Resources.com, a site geared towards providing chefs and culinarians useful info to help in their kitchens.
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