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Boiled Whole Lobster with Browned Butter

Serves 4

It used to be that, unless you lived near the coast, you had to go to a restaurant and pay a premium price for lobster. Now there are other choices. Frozen lobster tails are available in most grocery stores. Whole lobsters can be ordered from reputable mail sources and the price is reasonable, although the shipping can be very expensive. Most communities have either large grocery stores or local fish markets that carry live lobsters kept in tanks and that is the least expensive alternative. Whole lobsters must be cooked when still alive or freshly killed because the raw meat deteriorates very quickly. If that is a problem, ask your fish monger to do it for you, making certain he or she undercooks the meat so that it will not overcook when you reheat it. Most people serve seafood with drawn butter, which is melted butter with the milk solids removed. I prefer browned butter because it has a delicious nutty flavor. Since my favorite part of the lobster is the tail, I rarely purchase them whole. But many people love the claw meat, and this is a fun presentation for an occasional special meal. This recipe can be made in any amount. If cooking more lobsters, do not overcrowd the pot. Use two pots or cook in batches.


Fill a very large stockpot or lobster pot half way. Add a generous amount of salt. Bring water to rapid boil. Add lobsters one at a time, heads first, and return water to boil. Cover and boil for 12-14 minutes, adjusting temperature as needed, until lobsters are a bright red and the long antennae can be pulled loose with ease. Remove lobsters with tongs and place in colander to drain, as there is a lot of water inside the shell.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Continue to cook until a nutty brown color, being very careful not to burn. Place butter in individual warming dishes and serve with the lobsters.

Notes: Lobster shells are fairly easy to crack if you have the right tools. You can purchase lobster crackers and forks if desired. I use nutcrackers, picks and cocktail forks instead since I have them on hand. They work very well. You will need multiple napkins and, if serving when your guests are dressed up, bibs. Place an extra bowl or plate on the table for the discarded shells. The head portion is inedible. However, the green tomalley is excellent. It is the liver of the lobster and is very tasty. Leftover lobster makes great salad or lobster cakes, as in the similar and related recipes.