Boiled Maine Lobster
Serves 12

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.

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 
1 750-ml bottle dry white wine 
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 
12 live lobsters, about 1 1/2 pounds each, 
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted 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 two-thirds 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. 

Photograph by: Victoria Pearson

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