This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
On the French coast a lobster is boiled in half milk and half water. The "Cardinal of the Sea" is also cooked in a court bouillon, made of a handful of salt in the water, a pat of butter, a bunch of parsley, a clove of garlic, and a claret-glass of Chablis or Marsala, the wine being added after the lobster has boiled for a quarter of an hour.
"Broiled live lobsters are the latest in the fish restaurants, and jolly nice they are, too! They split Mr. Lobster down from head to tail, and pop him on the grill - flat side down. He is served scalding hot, and you eat him with lemon and cayenne".
The sign "broiled live lobsters" has appeared at a number of the city restaurants. If the lobsters were put on the gridiron whole, the practice would call for suppression by law. Such is not the practice. To broil a lobster in its shell would have no effect different from boiling or steaming; the broil is attained by the exposure of the inside flesh to the fire. The splitting down the full length of the lobster kills it before it reaches the fire. The seat of life is a spot in the center of the head where it joins the body, and when the cook's knife passes through it, life ceases, though the mechanical contractions of the members may continue for awhile. A lobster can be killed instantly by thrusting a skewer into the part, either from the back of the head or through the mouth. The catfish is one of the slowest animals to die, and hours after it has been skinned and cut up in pieces, if the head be opened carefully, the seat of life can be found like a heart, about the size of a lima bean, still beating with pulsations plain to see; but if this spot be pierced even when the fish is first caught and most alive, it dies immediately.
A freshly killed lobster is cut up into 8or 10 pieces, the claws making 4 more, and the head is set apart. Some oil is poured in a shallow saucepan, and into it is put mushrooms, onions, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay-leaves, parsley, salt, white pepper, cayenne; fried all together, without the lobster, till light brown; the oil then drained off, 3 tomatoes and a bottle of Chablis added; boiled 5 minutes, and the pieces of lobster, shell and all, thrown in; cooked 1/2 hour, taken up, and the sauce thickened with the substance found in the head, and 4 yolks; carefully mixed in without boiling; strained over the lobster. Same method as with crabs for gumbo, and the southern or Creole fish court-bouillon.
Lobster boiled in ordinary court-bouillon (which is seasoned broth with little wine), and served with lobster sauce.
Curried lobster, served with rice.
Lobster cutlets. (See Cutlets).