Choose a pot with a tight-fitting lid that is large enough to fit the lobsters comfortably with enough room for the steam to circulate around them. Wrap the lid tightly with a kitchen towel. Place a steamer basket or an upturned colander in the pot, and pour in cold water to a depth of about 2 inches. Cover and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, put the lobsters on a cutting board. Place the tip of a large, heavy knife at the cross marks on the back of a lobster's head. In one quick motion cut down through the head to the cutting board. Repeat with the remaining lobsters.
To keep the tails straight and ensure even cooking, slip a thin wooden skewer through the length of the lobster's tails.
When the water is boiling, quickly add the lobsters to the pot and cover. Steam the lobsters, shaking the pot occasionally, until cooked through, about 8 minutes for 3/4 to 1 pound lobsters , about 10 minutes for 1 to 1 1/4 pound lobsters, and about 11 minutes for 1 1/2 to 2 pound lobsters.
Remove the lobsters from the pot and, if you are serving them whole, set them aside for several minutes to rest. Using the back of the heavy knife or a mallet crack the claws. Transfer the lobsters to plates and serve with drawn butter and lobster claw crackers.
To remove all the meat from the lobster: Transfer the lobster to a colander in the sink and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Using your hands, twist the claws, knuckles, and tails off of the lobsters. Reserve the bodies for making broth .
On a work surface, rest the tails on their sides and, using the palm of your hand, press down on them to crack the shells. Holding a tail with both hands, with the belly facing you, break the tail shell back and pop out the meat. Repeat with the remaining tails. If you have female lobsters (the swimmerets at top of the tail are soft and have hair-like wisps protruding from them), you may want to prepare CORAL BUTTER, (recipe follows) with the roe. The roe are the dark green eggs located in the body and the top of the tail. Carefully cut open the top of the tail and the body and remove the roe .
Grab the "thumb" of a lobster claw and move it back and forth. Try to wiggle the shell off of the meat while pulling out the internal piece of cartilage, leaving the meat attached to the claw (this is a tricky maneuver, if it doesn't work you should be able to shake the meat out). Place the claw horizontally upright with the curve of the claw facing up. Using the heavy part of the blade of the knife, with a short and swift motion, crack the back end of the claw. Drop the claw to its side and, with the back of the knife, crack the side of the back of the claw. Remove the cracked back end of the claw and wiggle the meat out from the shell. Repeat with the remaining claws.
Place the knuckles on the work surface and cover with a kitchen towel. Using the back of the knife, crack the knuckles. Using your hands, remove the shell from the knuckles and carefully pick out the meat. You may also use kitchen shears to cut open the knuckles and remove the meat.
Place the butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute.
Set the saucepan aside and let the butter settle, undisturbed. The milk solids will come to the top of the butter and the watery whey will collect on the bottom. Skim off the milk solids with a spoon and pour the drawn butter into a serving bowl or several small ramekins, taking care not include the watery liquid in the bottom of the pan. Serve.
Yield: about 1 cup Place the butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute.
Set the saucepan aside and let the butter settle, undisturbed. The milk solids will come to the top of the butter and the watery whey will collect on the bottom. Skim off the milk solids with a spoon and pour the drawn butter into a small bowl. Wipe out the sauce and return the drawn butter to it.
Place the roe in a medium bowl and whisk lightly to break it up. Heat the butter over medium heat until just hot. Gradually pour the warmed butter over the roe, while whisking, until the eggs turn bright red. Serve with lobster or other shellfish .
Yield: about 1 cup Copyright 2001 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved