Ever wonder what the green stuff, black stuff, red stuff or white stuff is? Wonder no more! We’re going to break down the different colors of “the stuff”. The beautiful array of colors a Maine lobster of a cooked lobster.
The color green in a cooked lobster is called Tomalley [tom-al-ee] (from the Carib word tumale, meaning a sauce of lobster liver). You’ll find tomalley when you pull the tail from the body of a cooked lobster. The tomalley is essentially the pancreas and the liver of the lobster. Because it acts like a liver and pancreas, it is a filter which can accumulate pollutants from the environment, so it’s best to eat in moderation or skip it all together – but that’s up to you! Many New Englanders grow up eating tomalley with the rest of the lobster. The expert cooks even make lobster pate using a mixture of tomalley and lobster roe, or use it to make sauces.
When a female lobster is carrying eggs and is cooked, those eggs will turn red, which we call Roe. Lobster eggs are dark green( or black) sacs inside the female lobster, but once cooked they turn bright red. In Maine a female lobster with visible eggs on her tail cannot be kept. Before releasing her, the harvester puts a v-notch in her tail to indicate that she is a good breeder. Even if she is not showing eggs, a female lobster with a notch on her tail can never be caught. However if a female lobster is caught and is baring eggs that are not visible and doesn’t have a notch on her tail it is not illegal. Roe is an acquired taste for some and delicious for others. You’ll sometimes find lobster roe on top of sushi dishes.
Continuing on the female lobster talk. If you don’t cook your lobster long enough a female lobster with eggs inside(Roe) will appear thick and black. Make sure you cook the lobster for at least 12 minutes. If you didn’t cook it long enough and it’s showing the thick black roe, cook it a little longer and it’ll turn red or just wipe it away.
If you’ve ever cooked lobster, you might notice white foam like stuff floating around around your lobster in the pot, and thought what is that!? The answer is quite simple, it’s lobster protein or fat, and can easily be rinsed off. It’s very common and indicates a fresh lobster, ready to eat!