The Green Goo In Lobster Is Actually Packed With Flavor

When you crack open a freshly-steamed lobster, you'll likely be presented with lots of luscious meat waiting to be pried out and dipped in lemon butter. There will also, however, be something far less lovely, that being a blob of green goo up towards the top of the body. The scientific name for this bit doesn't make it sound any more appetizing than does its description as it's called the hepatopancreas. As this unsightly bit functions as a digestive organ, it's essentially lobster offal.

Offal by name, but not awful by nature, it seems. The hepatopancreas, which is more commonly known as tomalley (from a Carib word for a sauce made from this organ) has a flavor that's far more delightful than its off-putting appearance would suggest. Quora users described it using words such as "sweet," "salty," and "buttery," while comparing the texture to that of guacamole. Some cooks also feel that it tastes just like the rest of the lobster, only even more lobstery.

There is one caveat as regards eating tomalley, though. When a red tide is running, it's possible that the tomalley may be infected with paralytic shellfish poisoning. At such a time, a shellfish ban may be in place. Lobster meat should still be okay to eat as it doesn't accumulate PSP toxins, but red tide tomalley is something that's best avoided.

Here's what to do with tomalley

You can, of course, just dig the tomalley out with a spoon and gobble it up along with the rest of the lobster. If you prefer to prolong the pleasure, though (or else you're still just a bit hesitant about tomalley's oobleck-esque hue and wobbly consistency), there are a number of other things you can do with the stuff. Spread it on toast or crackers, perhaps, or maybe stir it into a lobster bisque or mix it with the mayonnaise for a lobster salad. If you're making a stuffing for your lobster, mix the tomalley in with the breadcrumbs.

Should you be feeling more ambitious, you could use the tomalley to season lobster-topped bruschetta or make tomalley croutons to float in a bowl of lobster stew. Tomalley can also be a great addition to lobster pasta or to a dressing used for a seafood chef salad with lobster chunks. Perhaps the simplest (and most meta) application of tomalley, though, would be to stir it into a melted stick of butter and use this lobster-flavored dip to dip your lobster.