Lobsters are in season from March to November. They are in the market all the year, but during the off months they are light and stringy. Their size increases with their age; therefore a small, heavy lobster is better than a large one.
They are unwholesome if boiled after they are dead. If bought already boiled, their freshness may be judged by the tail, which should be curled and springy. If it is not curled up, or will not spring back when straightened, the lobster was dead when boiled, and should be rejected.
Lobsters may be killed just before being boiled by running a pointed knife into the back through the joint between the body and tail shells.
Have in a kettle enough water to entirely cover the lobster. Before it becomes very hot take the lobster by the back and put it into the warm water head first. This smothers instead of scalding it to death, and seems the most merciful way of killing it. A lobster treated in this way does not change position, and seems to have been killed instantly. Cover the pot. When it boils, add one tablespoonful of salt, and boil for thirty minutes. It will be tough and stringy if cooked longer.
After the lobster is cold, break apart the tail and body; twist off the claws; remove the body from the shell; shake out the green, fatty substance and the coral, and save them to mix with the meat. Remove the stomach, which lies directly under the head, and is called the "lady"; remove also the woolly gills; break open the body, and take out the small pieces of meat which lie under the gills; break open the claws and remove the meat. With scissors or a knife cut the bony membrane on the inside of the tail; remove the meat in one piece, and open it to remove the intestine, which runs the entire length of the tail-piece. The intestine is sometimes without color.
With a sharp knife cut quickly down the back, following a line which runs down the middle of the shell. The fishman will ordinarily do this, and it is as quick and merciful as any way of killing. The lobster may be killed, if preferred, by running a knife into the back as directed above, and then opened with a heavy knife and mallet. Remove the stomach, or lady, and the intestine. Lay the two pieces on the broiler, with the shell part down, and broil over a moderate fire for thirty minutes or longer. Spread a little butter over it when half done, to keep it moist; spread butter, salt, and pepper over it when done; open the claws with a nut-cracker or mallet, and serve immediately.
Split the lobster open in the same way as for broiling. Remove the stomach, or lady, and the intestine; lay the two pieces in a baking-pan; spread over the top of each salt, pepper and butter, and sprinkle with bread crumbs; bake about forty minutes in a hot oven; during the baking baste it twice by pouring over it a little melted butter. Baked and broiled lobsters are considered a great delicacy.