Lobsters are crustaceans that live in cold water in rocky areas. They are blue-black when alive but turn a brilliant red on cooking.

A lobster's main season is summer, simply because that is when they move to shallow warm waters, which makes them easier to catch. Lobsters can weigh as much as 4.5kg but the average is 500g-1.4kg and size is no indication of flavour.


There are two types of true clawed lobster: the Homarus gammarus and Homarus americanus, both of which come from the North Atlantic. The Canadian/American species is widely available in the UK because the demand for lobster is high. The European species is caught from the Mediterranean right up to Scandinavia and the brilliant blue-black varieties from Scotland are particularly esteemed, as are those from Cornwall. The males have larger claws but females are supposed to be tastier. The brownish-pink rock (or spiny) lobster is really a seawater crayfish and although it is clawless, some say it is sweeter and superior in texture to true lobsters


Prime lobster can be cooked and served very simply indeed. You could grill it and serve with melted butter, and maybe fresh lemon and black pepper. In China it might be steamed and covered with ginger, spring onions and soy sauce. In Goa, lobster traditionally features in a cucumber and lime salad. However some of the classic recipes are extremely rich, such as France's lobster Thermidor, which douses the flesh with cream sauce, mustard and parmesan cheese. Try it with a mild curry-flavoured mayonnaise such as that for Coronation Chicken. Lobster is good with chillies, tarragon, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and tropical fruit such as mango or pineapple. Remember the coral and tomalley (liver) can be added to sauces, and the shells used for stock, sauces and making shellfish butter.