Buy these alive; the lobster merchants sometimes keep them till they are starved, before they boil them; they are then watery, have not half their flavor, and like other persons that die of a consumption, have lost the calf of their legs. Choose those that (as an old cook says, are "heavy and lively," and) are full of motion, which is the index of their freshness. Those of the middle size are the best. Never take them when the shell is incrusted, which is a sign they are old. The male lobster is preferred to eat, and the female (on account of the eggs) to make sauce of. The hen lobster is distinguished by having a broader tail than the male, and less claws. Set on a pot, with water salted in proportion of a table-spoonful of salt to a quart of water; when the water boils, put it in, and keep it boiling briskly from half an hour to an hour, according to its size; wipe all the scum oft' it, and rub the shell with a very little butter or sweet oil; break oft" the great claws, crack them carefully in each joint, so that they may not be shattered, and yet come to pieces easily; cut the tail down the middle, and send up the body whole.
The heaviest are considered the best. When alive, if they are quite fresh, the claws will have a strong motion when you put your finger on the-eyes and press them. When you buy them ready boiled, try whether their tails a. stiff and pull up with a spring, otherwise that part will be flabby. The cock-lobster may be distinguished from the hen by the narrow back part of the tail, and the two uppermost (ins within it are stiff and hard; but those of the hen are soft, and the tail broader. The male, though generally the smallest, has the highest flavor, the flesh is firmer, and the color when boiled is a deeper red. They i come in about April, and remain in season till the oysters return. Hen lobsters are preferred for sauces, on account of their coral.
Lobsters are sold in Boston, already boiled, and are always fresh and good.
Pound the meat of a large lobster very fine with two ounces of butter, and season it with grated nutmeg, salt, and white pepper; add a little grated bread, beat up two eggs, reserve part to put over the meat, and with the rest make it up into the form of a lobster. Pound the spawn and red part, and spread it over it; bake it a quarter of an hour, and just before serving, lay over it the tail and body shell, with the small claws put underneath to resemble a lobster.
Pick all the meat from the bodies of either, mince it small, put it into a saucepan with two or three fable-spoonfuls of white wine, one of lemon-pickle, and three or four of rich gravy, a bit of butter, some salt, pepper, and grated nutmeg; thicken it with the yolks of two eggs beat up, and when quite hot, put it into the large shells; garnish them with an edging of bread toasted.
Break the shells, and take out the meat carefully, cut it and the red part, or coral, into pieces, adding the spawn; thicken with flour and butter some white stock, with which the shells have been boiled; season it with white pepper, mace, and salt, put in the lobster and heat it up; just before serving, add a little lemon-juice, or lemon pickle. The stock may be made with the shells, only boiled in a pint of water, with some white pepper, salt, and a little mace, thickened with cream, flour, and butter.
Choose a fine spawny hen lobster; be sure it is fresh, pick out the spawn and the red coral into a mortar, add to it half an ounce of butter, pound it quite smooth, and rub it through a hair-sieve with the back of a wooden spoon; cut the meat of the lobster into small squares, or pull it to pieces with a fork; put the pounded spawn into as much melted butter as you think will do, and stir it together till it is thoroughly mixed; now put to it the meat of the lobster, and warm it on the fire; take care it does not boil, which will spoil its complexion, and its brilliant red color will immediately fade. The above is a very easy and excellent manner of making this sauce. Some use strong beef or veal gravy instead of melted butter, adding anchovy, cayenne, ketchup, cavice, lemon-juice, or pickle, or wine, etc.