Blanching Lobster is a Host’s Best Friend


Blanching lobster is the biggest trend today in serving, wild-caught, live Maine lobster, both in homes and at private clubs. Boiling for two minutes then chilling quickly to stop the cooking process results in a partially cooked (parboiled) dead lobster. That’s the objective of blanching lobster. Gourmet restaurants have always blanched. It reduces kitchen-to-table time and extends the usable life of fresh Maine lobsters up to three days without sacrificing recipe options or the wonderful fresh taste.

For hosts at home, blanching lobster expands there options on when to schedule delivery, how to cook them, and when they can be served. Here are some examples:

  • Want to grill or broil them? Always blanch first. See  ★ on “Dry-Heat” Cooking
  • Want dinner on a Sunday, two day hence, but not sure they’ll survive that long? Blanch upon receipt.
  • Hosting a quick lunch but have no prep-time time to spare? Blanch the night before.
  • Have a really special event for which your live Maine lobster entrée absolutely positively must get delivered on time, even if ice storms rage across the country? Set your delivery for a day or two early and blanch upon receipt.

Blanching Lobster is quick and easy. Here’s how.

Use one tablespoon of sea salt for every two quarts of water in your largest pot (when blanching or boiling, the more space between lobsters the better). Submerge chilled lobsters into your boiling pot. When water returns to boil, cover tightly and cook two minutes.  With tongs, move them to a sink and quickly cover with ice cubes and/or icy cold water for 10 minutes or more to stop the cooking.

  • To serve within 48 hours, wrap in kitchen towels, pop them in a refrigerator, and when it is time, complete cooking by boiling, steaming, broiling, baking, or grilling.
  • To serve three days to three weeks in the future, wrap and freeze them. Slow-thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours before you complete the cooking.

Boiling and Steaming after Blanching Lobster.

As a rule of thumb, simply subtract the two minutes of blanching time from the normal cooking time for boiling and steaming. Here are a few examples:

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Grilling and Broiling after Blanching Lobster.

The “dry-heat” flame of a broiler or grill adds rich complementary flavors to lobster meat. On the other hand, dry-heat cooking in the shell, takes attention and careful timing to be sure all parts cook evenly and don’t dry out. A marinade helps the cause; we use lemon juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, for example.

All “dry-heat” options first require lobster be dead.  We do not grill or broil live lobster. We blanch for two minutes. ★ on Blanching Lobsters Others prefer to sever the nerve cord at the base of the head with the pointed tip of a chef’s knife.