Rich and meaty, lobster is a special treat that transports you to the ocean and reminds you of your favorite vacation memories. Blessed with flavors and textures that make it highly versatile, lobster can be prepared in many easy yet artful ways, says Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of New York City’s Le Bernardin (www.le-bernardin.com), New York’s only seafood restaurant bearing three Michelin stars. “A simple salad can suddenly become very elegant just by adding lobster,” says Ripert, author of A Return to Cooking (Artisan, 2009), which contains several lobster recipes. “Lobster salad must always be served warm,” he counsels, “because cold lobster loses its flavor and becomes tough.” According to Bob Spiegel, chef and co-owner of Creative Edge Parties, (www.creativeedgeparties.com) in New York, “Lobster knuckle meat is the most succulent and has the best texture. Use it in curried lobster salads or lobster bisque, but be careful with salt,” Spiegel advises. “Instead, season cooked lobster with lemon juice and herbs such as tarragon, chervil or chives.” When selecting live lobsters from a tank, choose the liveliest one. “I find that lobsters weighing 1 3/4 to 2 pounds taste the sweetest,” Spiegel says. “Ask for a female, and before buying always check to confirm your lobster has claws, as these sometimes come off.” For step-by-step instructions on how to boil, steam and grill lobsters, swim over to The Lobster Institute website (www.lobster.um.maine.edu). —Kyle Roderick
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