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Lobster

So I had lobster at the weekend. very nice, although there wasn't much to eat in the body cavity.

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  1. If you had cold-water lobster there is quite a bit of delicious meat in the body cavity, it's just a bit of work to dig it out - the sweet meat is found at the joints where the legs meet the body. And of course, the bigger the lobster the more meat. There isn't all that much in a 1.25-pound lobster, but even then I'll go to the trouble of finding it!

    2 Replies
    1. re: janniecooks

      Yeah it was probably shorter than from my wrist to elbow. There was some meat at the joints, but it was really hard to get out, so I didn't really bother. The legs were actually one of the tastiest bits, and pretty fun to figure out how to break

      Plus I got to eat with my hands at an over-the-top-posh restaurant.

      1. re: Soop

        I love the fact that you can do so many things with lobster, especially getting messy. There is nothing quite like getting at some lobsters with friends and a cold one on a summer afternoon. I can't wait!!

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      1. "Body Cavity"??? The majority of the lobster meat is in the tail!

        5 Replies
        1. re: KiltedCook

          Yes, the big hunk of firm flesh is in the mighty tail. My fishmonger lost control of one the other day and all us bystanders got splashed as he power-flipped all over the open topped tank. That said, there are all sorts of sweet bits of meat in the joints and tucked here and there in the cavity. When I have a 1-1/2 or 2 pounder steamed to bring home I usually am full picking out the goods from the legs and cavity and I save the whole tail for later preps. My local spiny lobster season ends this Wednesday!

          1. re: KiltedCook

            But there is still some tasty stuff in the cavity - tomalley, sometimes roe, and I enjoy picking meat outta where the legs meet the body. This is especially true with blue crab.

            1. re: porker

              I think there may still be a warning in effect regarding eating tomalley due to the possible concentration of toxins (it is the lobster liver). Maybe it's a Northeast thing, I dunno.

              1. re: porker

                Roe sits on the outside of the body on the lobster, not the inside and that lobbie would never ever ever ever be sold.

                1. re: Sal Vanilla

                  No, the eggs form inside the body cavity and then are expressed to the outside to develop. Most female lobsters will have roe developing in the body (known as coral, because it turns a salmon pink color when cooked), even when there are none showing on the outside, and I always try to buy females because I happen to like it. You are correct that you'll never see a female carrying eggs under the abdomen (so-called "berried" lobsters) for sale because it's illegal for lobstermen to keep them.

            2. I cooked lobster for the first time the other day and I wasn't sure what parts to eat. I got 1 1/4 pounders and there wasn't much meat outside of the tail and claws. One of my friends was diligent about poking around the body cavity for edible bits.

              13 Replies
              1. re: NYCkaren

                Apparantly there are bits that make you ill inside. It's basically like one massive prawn isn't it? Because of the tail.
                I wonder if you can just get the tails and claws? But then cooking them would be hard. Unless you could steam them. Blimey, that would be good.

                1. re: Soop

                  The issue with the tomalley is that it's where toxins are stored, right? So it wouldn't make you sick immediately but it could be carcinogenic down the line. Are there parts that would make you sick immediately? I'm a lobster novice.

                  1. re: NYCkaren

                    The thing about cooking 'live lobster' is just that, it'll guarantee a certain amount of freshness. You don't know how old a tail or claw is.
                    I'm not an expert, but I don't think there are lobster-specific parts that'll make you sick. If its bacteria or other food-borne, illness-causing agents, the cooking will kill them.
                    If its not cooked properly, there may be exposure to these nasties, but again the same can be said of crab, shrimp, fish, etc etc (yeah, heat does not quell ciguatera in fish, but thats another story).
                    The lungs or sand sac or digestive track might be unpleasant to eat, but if thoroughly cooked, I don't think would make you sick.

                    As for the tomalley, I guess I live dangerously. I also eat grilled and smoked meats (smoke related carcinogens), enjoy alcohol, and occasionally eat high-fat foods.
                    Like everything else I think its a case of frequency. If I had a steady diet of exploded lobster liver (ummm, mix 1/2 and 1/2, tomalley and roe) there might be a concern. I eat it perhaps 4 times per year...

                    1. re: porker

                      What sort of person would harvest lobster roe? You know it is illegal for a reason right?

                      1. re: Sal Vanilla

                        I think they are talking about the red, waxy roe found inside the lobster, not the eggs outside the lobster. This type of lobster is referred to as a "berried" lobster and are not permitted to be harvested.

                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                          Sal, perhaps the kind people at The Fresh Lobster Company out of Gloucester (they'll even throw in a $10 gift certificate with a gift purchase of 1lb fresh roe);
                          http://www.thefreshlobstercompany.com...

                          Or the friendly folks at M. Slavin and Sons (they have locations in Fulton Fish Market, Brooklyn, Washington, and Point Judith RI), they offer both fresh or cooked in a 2lb vac-pac;
                          http://www.mslavin.com/productguide.pdf

                          But not to worry, I'll forward your concerns.

                      2. re: NYCkaren

                        I love lobster and eat it all the time, FL and cold water. However, I can not eat tomalley. I just can't stomach the taste. There is tons on controversy but considering everything else we eat, I wouldn't be overly concerned, but some are. I personally just don't like the green stuff. I eat the nice white meat, tails claws and leg meat and am content.

                        I think my chance of dying from a lobster would would be a lot less than dying from getting hit on US 41 (a major crowded main road running N/S in FL) for you non FL residents. But I don't worry too much about that. I try to eat healthy, but sometimes I just don't worry that much.

                        There are so many other things to worry about, I enjoy that little tasty crustacean.

                        1. re: NYCkaren

                          Lipophilic contaminants - things like PCBs and dioxins - are indeed sequestered primarily in the hepatopancreas (tomalley). I've analyzed many lobsters from hazardous waste sites and I know this to be true. That said, in most cases you'd need to be a pretty regular tomalley eater to appreciably increase your incremental cancer risk, but depending on the other risk factors in your life it's something to think about.

                          There are no parts that would make you sick immediately, even if the concentration of contaminants were unusually high. A spoiled lobster will quite possibly make you acutely ill, as would spoiled meat generally.

                          1. re: FlyFish

                            I sat through a day of a seafood toxicity conference once... and I still eat seafood. But it was kind of hair-raising, particularly in the aspects tied to pollution rather than natural factors, but the natural factors aspects were rough too ... salmon kept coming up in the presentations.

                            1. re: Cinnamon

                              Absolutely. I do quite a bit of work with state departments of public health and fish & wildlife and I see a lot of data on contaminants in wild foods. Some of what goes on is criminal, or should be - and nobody should assume that because the "government" says it's OK to eat it (or, more commonly, says nothing) that it is, in fact, OK to eat it.

                              I'm really of two minds when it comes to salmon farming. I recognize that there are real problems and much opportunity for improvement, but any agricultural operation is going to substantially modify the natural habitat that it supplants. The damage done to indigenous habitats and populations by, for example, corn farming or cattle grazing is far worse than the effects of salmon farming (admittedly in part because of the scale), but nobody, or at least nobody rational, would suggest we go back to gathering wild plants and market hunting. No easy answers when there are 300 million mouths to feed.

                        2. re: Soop

                          You can buy/make individually frozen tails. You can buy claw meat (prepicked and tubbed for later use) and steamed whole claws (fresh).

                          If you want to freeze your own tails - separate from carapice and put them in a Ziploc with a bit of brined water. They keep for a long while with no loss of fresh taste and texture.

                        3. re: NYCkaren

                          My motto is "if it comes from a lobster and it tastes good -- eat it."

                          If you've ever seen Splash, there's a scene with Darryl Hannah (as a mermaid who sprouts legs ashore) eating lobster. She just picks the whole thing up in a restaurant and gets ready to chomp into it,

                          That would be me. I eat everything I can chew. Thank goodness for lobster bibs!

                          The tail? of course. The claws, The legs. The tomalley. The amazing stuff where the legs connect with the body. All the sweet stuff that sticks to the inside of the shell. Heaven.

                          I learned long ago to only eat lobster in my home or with very generous non-squeamish, non-OCD people. I live in the middle of the country so I don't eat it often, but look out when I do. I leave little behind but the shell. The stuff in the head (brains?) is a bit bitter so I do skip that.

                          1. re: chicgail

                            The meat in the very base of the tail (the tail flippers?) is delicious. We thought the tail end was just included as decoration on lobster served Chinese style (like the head) but we were wrong, it's worth it digging out the nubbin of tail and the pieces in the flippers. Mmmmm.

                        4. I eat lobster at home a lot ( probably 3x a month) it is fairly cheap here in Boston. I like 2 lb lobsters because of the amount of meat so that is what I normally get.