Boiled Maine Lobster

Each summer, many lobsters' tough shells are replaced by thin ones. These lobsters, called "shedders," are a delight to eat -- it takes no effort to get at the tail and claw meat. Still, it is smart to keep a pair of crackers at hand, just in case. Boiling lobsters in court-bouillon, a staple for poaching seafood, makes them quite flavorful in the absence of seawater.

  • Servings: 12

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July/August 1999


  • 2 medium white onions, sliced into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 large carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • 12 live lobsters, about 1 1/2 pounds each, "shedders," if available
  • 1 pound butter, melted
  • 6 lemons, halved


  1. Place onions, carrots, and celery in a large stockpot. Make a bouquet garni: Gather thyme, parsley, and bay leaf; tie into a bundle with kitchen string, then add to the stockpot.

  2. Fill stockpot 2/3rds full with cold water; set over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and let simmer about 30 minutes.

  3. Add white wine and peppercorns; simmer about 15 minutes more. Return to a boil.

  4. Depending on size of stockpot, quickly add 4 to 6 lobsters to boiling court-bouillon, making sure the liquid covers all the lobsters. Allow court-bouillon to return to a boil again, and cook lobsters about 12 minutes. Using tongs, remove lobsters, and transfer to a platter or large bowl. Repeat with remaining lobsters, working in batches if necessary.

  5. Using kitchen scissors, trim the tip of each lobster claw; allow the liquid to drain, and discard. Serve lobsters with melted butter and lemons.

Cook's Notes

Buy live lobsters the day you plan to cook them. Lobsters kept on ice are sometimes sluggish; it can be hard to tell if they are alive. Look for ones that have their tails curled under.


Be the first to comment!