Dress & Dine: Summer Lobster Boil

August 6, 2014


One of the thinly veiled secrets about me is that I love to cook.  There hasn’t been an ingredient I didn’t like or appreciate, save for those I am allergic to (avocado, nuts, chickpeas).  So when my friend Shena asked me to make a lobster feast in her Brooklyn apartment, I jumped at the chance to make this summer New England favorite in the city.

Nestled in the shopping center at Newkirk Plaza in Brooklyn is a fish market where you can get fresh fish and shellfish without breaking the bank.  For a dinner for two, we spent less than $50 on two lobsters, half a pound of shrimp, a pound of clams.  You can’t get that at any restaurant in New York City.  I also grabbed a few broccoli stems, potatoes and half and half at the grocery store.

A lobster boil is super easy if you have the proper tools.  You need a very large saucepan that will accommodate two lobsters or be prepared to cook one lobster at a time in a smaller pan.

How To Cook The Lobster

  • Live Lobster
  • Large saucepan filled with water and salted with sea salt (use a lot of salt for flavor)
  • Butter
  • Shell crackers or hammer to open up your lobster

1 Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water. Add 2 Tbsp of salt for every quart of water. The water should be salty like sea water (in fact you can use clean sea water if you have it). Bring the water to a rapid boil.

2 Grab the lobster by the body, avoid the claws at all cost, unless you want don’t really enjoy having your fingers.  Plunge lobster head first into the water.  Cover the pot and let it boil.

3 Boil the lobsters for 12-20 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the lobster. 12-15 minutes for 1 lb lobster, 15-20 minutes for a 1 1/2 pound lobster, 20-25 minutes for a 2-3 pound lobster. The lobsters should be a bright vivid red color when done.

Note that larger lobsters will turn bright red before they are completely finished cooking, so you do want to time your cooking, and not just go on color alone. Unlike with fresh scallops or fish that you can eat raw (think sashimi), you don’t want to eat raw or undercooked lobster. Translucent undercooked lobster meat really doesn’t taste good. It needs to be opaque through and through. If you cook it too long, the meat will get rubbery, so keep an eye on the time.

4 Remove the lobsters from the pot with tongs and place on a plate to drain and cool.


HOW TO COOK CLAMS: To cook clams, salt your water (can substitute clam juice) with sea salt then bring water to a boil.  Clean all your clams and discard any that are opened.  Add the clams to the boiling water and cover.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until clams open up in the water. Drain clams and transfer to a bowl and cover.

HOW TO SAUTE SHRIMP:  Peel and devein shrimp and rinse off well.  Season shrimp with salt and black pepper.   Add two tablespoons of olive or grape seed oil then heat on medium-high heat stove.  Add pepper flakes and crushed garlic until garlic begins to brown.  Next toss shrimp into the pan and saute for about 5 minutes.  Then transfer to plate and cover until ready to serve.

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