Cooking lobster alive is a centuries-old culinary practice that has been the source of debate among chefs and home cooks alike. On one hand, some argue that killing live seafood is cruel and unnecessary. On the other hand, others argue that cooking lobster alive is necessary in order to retain its flavor and texture. There is a science behind this practice that explains why it is important, and how to do it safely. By understanding the science behind cooking lobster alive, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not it is right for you. In this article, we will discuss the science behind cooking lobster alive, why it is necessary, and how to do it safely.
Why Cook Lobster Alive?
- To preserve its texture and flavor. Cooking lobster alive helps to retain the succulent texture and sweet taste of the lobster meat, as opposed to boiling or steaming which can cause the meat to become hard and chewy.
- To ensure food safety. Cooking lobster alive helps to kill any parasites or bacteria that may be present in the lobster’s flesh, ensuring that it is safe for consumption.
- To prevent overcooking. Lobster is a delicate seafood, and it can be easily overcooked if left in boiling water for too long. By cooking it alive, chefs are able to avoid this problem by controlling the temperature of the water and ensuring that it does not get too hot or too cold.
- To preserve nutrients. Cooking lobster alive helps to maintain more of its nutrients than if it were boiled or steamed, as some vitamins are lost when exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time.
- To create a unique flavor. Cooking lobster alive allows it to develop a unique flavor that would otherwise be lost if it were boiled or steamed. This adds another layer of complexity to the dish, making it more interesting and enjoyable.
- To help preserve its color. Cooking lobster alive helps to maintain its bright red color, as boiling or steaming can cause the lobster to become dull and gray in color.
- To prevent waste. By cooking lobster alive, chefs are able to avoid wasting the lobster’s meat by ensuring that it is not overcooked or undercooked. This helps to reduce food waste and ensure that all of the delicious flavors of the lobster are enjoyed.
Overview Of The Practice Of Cooking Lobster Alive
- There are several reasons why chefs choose to cook lobster alive. The first is that it retains the same texture and flavor in the dish as it has in nature. Cooking lobster in boiling water, however, changes its texture from waxy and silky to hard and chewy – which is not ideal, as it makes the meat less pleasant to eat.
- Cooking lobster in steam also causes the meat to darken and deteriorate in flavor. Cooking lobster in an acid, such as lemon juice, also preserves its firm texture and flavor. The second reason is that both lobster and mollusks like oysters, mussels, and clams have a soft, slimy feel on the inside, but a hard shell on the outside.
- When the lobster is cooked, however, the inside softens, while the outside hardens, giving the lobster a velvety texture similar to that of a snail or oyster. The third reason is that cooking alive preserves the flavor of seafood.
- When you cook seafood, the flavor molecules are released from the seafood. Once the heat is applied to the seafood, the molecules bind with air to form a new compound that does not exist in raw seafood. Cooking lobster alive, however, does not allow the flavor compounds to be released from the seafood.
The Science Behind Cooking Lobster Alive
- As with other foods, there are compounds in seafood that change when they are cooked. Cooking lobster alive, however, does not allow the compounds to change, which results in a dull, less flavorful dish.
- Cooking lobster alive is done by steaming or boiling the lobster in order to form a pair of proteins in its shell called a “bio-gel.” Inside the bio-gel is a lovely, delicate green protein called “cafeteria,” which gives the lobster a soft, velvety texture.
- The bio-gel also keeps the inside of the lobster moist, which is why it is important to cook lobster alive. If you cook lobster in the absence of bio-gel, the lobster will be chewy and have a tough texture.
The Risks Of Not Cooking Lobster Alive
- There is a common misconception that cooking live seafood is safe as long as you do it right. This, however, is not true as there are many ways to cook lobster or seafood safely, and incorrectly can result in death.
- If you do not cook lobster alive, it will not be velvety, nor will it be moist inside. The outside of the lobster will also be hard and chewy. Cooking the seafood without cooking the seafood usually results in death. Soft-shelled crabs, for example, are commonly eaten in the US.
- These crabs, however, are usually cooked alive as they are not usually eaten raw. However, there are numerous risks associated with cooking soft-shelled crabs. Soft-shelled crabs, for example, contain high levels of the toxin domoic acid, which is present in high levels in crabs that are not cooked alive.
- There are also serious risks associated with cooking soft-shelled crabs incorrectly. Crabs, for example, should always be boiled or steamed.
- If they are boiled or steamed incorrectly, the water will evaporate, leaving the crabs dry, tough, and unpleasant to eat.
How To Cook Lobster Alive Safely?
- Always use fresh, cold water in cooking lobsters. Always use a pot that can heat water to boiling.
- Always use a large pot that can hold at least 2.5 gallons of water. Always use a thermometer to ensure the water reaches boiling.
- Always use a lid that fits on the pot. Always place the pot on a stovetop with sufficient heat to ensure the water gets to boiling.
- Always use a pot large enough to hold the whole lobster. Always use a stainless steel pot. – Always place the pot on a stovetop with sufficient heat to ensure the water gets to boiling.
Tips For Cooking Lobster Alive
- The water should be as cold as possible before adding the lobster. The lobster should be dumped into the water and not dropped in.
- The lobster should be submerged in the pot. The pot should be heated to the point where steam is visibly rising from the pot.
- Once the water reaches boiling, turn the stove off and leave the pot on the stovetop until the water cools.
- The lid should fit tightly on the pot. The pot should have a tight-fitting lid. The lobster should be served immediately.
- The lobster should be served with a dipping sauce. – The lobster should be eaten with the head and tail on.
Alternatives To Cooking Lobster Alive
- If you are not comfortable cooking lobster alive, you can always purchase live lobster and cook it that way. However, there are downsides to this as well.
- Live lobsters can carry diseases, such as norovirus, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
- Washing your hands thoroughly before preparing the seafood can help reduce the risk of contracting these diseases.
- Live lobsters should also be cooked with care as they can be difficult to handle and cook safely. Buying cooked lobster, however, is still the best option.
There are several reasons why chefs choose to cook lobster alive. The first is that it retains the same texture and flavor in the dish as it has in nature. Cooking lobster alive, however, changes its texture from waxy and silky to hard and chewy. The second reason is that both lobster and mollusks like oysters, mussels, and clams have a soft, slimy feel on the inside, but a hard shell on the outside. Cooking lobster alive, however, prevents the inside of the lobster from being hard and chewy. Cooking lobster alive is done by steaming or boiling the lobster in order to form a pair of proteins in its shell called a bio-gel.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Lobster Alive?
The best way to cook lobster alive is to steam or boil it. Make sure that the water reaches boiling before turning off the stove and leaving the pot on the stovetop until the water cools. Make sure that the lid fits tightly on the pot so that no steam escapes. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce and enjoy with the head and tail on.
Is It Safe To Cook Lobster Alive?
Yes, it is safe to cook lobster alive. As long as the water reaches boiling temperature, the bacteria and other microorganisms that could cause harm will be killed and the lobster will be safe to eat. However, it is important to handle the lobster with care and wash your hands thoroughly before preparing it.
How Long Do You Cook Lobster Alive?
The length of time it takes to cook lobster alive depends on the size of the lobster. Generally, smaller lobsters take between 3-5 minutes and larger lobsters take up to 10 minutes.