L.A. Times Test Kitchen tips: Keeping a lobster tail straight while cooking
To keep a lobster tail straight while cooking, run a skewer through the center of the fan and up the length of the tail. If the lobster is whole, run the skewer all the way through. (To kill the lobster painlessly first, freeze it for a couple hours before preparing). As a lobster is cooked, the tail meat naturally wants to contract and curl; the skewer will keep it straight. This technique also works for large shrimp and prawns.
If you're boiling lobsters and are working with even numbers, you can also keep their tails straight by tying each pair together before boiling. Arrange the lobsters with their bellies touching and tails extended before tying; this will keep the tail meat straight without having to use skewers
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times