Cooking lobster and recipes Holidays Lobster

Downeast Cooking Tips that “Tug” on the Christmas Lobster

cooked maine lobster on a plateNo matter how you prepare them, Maine lobsters are a gourmet treat any time of year.  But at Christmas, lobster is often celebrated as the Christmas Eve dinner main course.

For some hungry family members,  the bigger the Christmas lobster is, the better. A few  jumbo lobster recipe cooking tips may help.

In just a few days Christmas Eve chefs all across the country will boil, steam, bake or grill Maine lobster.  But cooking those jumbo lobster to satisfy family members can be tricky.  Care must be taken not to overcook, or the meat will toughen. Under-cook a jumbo lobster and the lobster will not have its succulent flavor.

Downeast Maine Cooking Tips for Christmas Lobster

Given this challenge, even experienced cooks may be surprised to learn that that the lobster antennae can play a role in helping chefs determine when a whole lobster is cooked and ready to take out of the steam pot.

A tug on steamed lobster antennae can help tell chefs the lobster is ready

Steve, a former Downeast Maine lobster fisherman who now lives in North Port, Florida, recently shared with Lobsters-Online an experience he had with jumbo lobster. He says timing how long a big lobster cooks is not always accurate as those on the bottom may cook faster than those on the top.  To double check if  a lobster is done, Steve firmly stands by the practice of giving a pull on the lobster antenna.  If the antennae pops off easily, the lobster is done. If it stays on, the lobster needs to cook a little longer.”

“I was a lobster fisherman back in the 70s,” Steve said.  “I have cooked thousands of lobsters of all sizes.  Giving a slight tug on the antenna has worked for over 50 years for me.”

Lobster boat approached dock full of summer lobster

Maine Lobster Boat Approaches Dock

Steve said once for his birthday  at a restaurant he ordered a giant 13-pound lobster for himself and a 10-pound lobster for his sister.

“When the waitress brought them to my table I gave the antenna  a slight tug and the whole lobster came with it,” Steve said.  “I told the waitress that they where not cooked and asked her to take them back and have them cook them some more . The cook then came out to my table with the manager and he told me that if they cook it anymore that it will be tough.”

Pull the Lobster Antenna to See if Lobster is Done

Steve said he then broke the 10-pound lobster open  and showed everyone that the meat was not fully cooked.  The manager apologized and took them back to cook some more.
“I told the manager about the antenna on the lobster breaking loose when it was done,” Steve said. “He came back to my table with the lobster and I gave the antenna a tug and it came off . I opened up the lobster and cut a piece of the tail and gave it to the manager and he agreed that it was tender and that it was cooked just right .”

 

The Jumbo lobsters were delicious, he said.

 

“Cooking lobsters according to time tables does not work all the time and they can be raw or become over cooked,” he said, adding that it is also important to move the lobsters around in the pot to make sure they cook more evenly.

 

© Wayne Howe 2019

 

 

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Christmas Recipes Cooking lobster and recipes Holidays Lobster

Christmas Eve Baked Stuffed Lobster Recipe Dazzling with Pine Nuts, Dried Apricots and Rosemary

Christmas Eve baked stuffed Maine Lobster


Christmas Eve Baked Stuffed Maine Lobster

Looking to wow the family?  Try this Christmas Eve baked-stuffed lobster recipe dazzling with pine nuts, dried apricots and rosemary for a fantastic gourmet holiday feast.

 

Make sure you start with ocean fresh lobster from Maine.  Order for home delivery from your favorite online lobster delivery service.  Then gather up the following ingredients.

Let’s Get Ready:

  • 4 1 ½ lb Live Maine lobsters
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup finely diced dried apricots
  • 10 oz. brioche, cut into ¾” cubes
  • 1 ½ cups diced celery, diced onion, diced fennel
  • Dash dried red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 sprigs rosemary

Let’s Start Cooking the Christmas Dinner Lobster: 

In a large (16-quart) cook pot, bring 3 cups of water to a roiling boil. Place lobsters one at a time head first into the pot and cover tightly with lid. Cook for seven (7) minutes, making sure to stir the lobster once or twice. Remove the lobsters and set aside and let cool.  Save the liquid in the pot.  Once cool, use a large chef knife to open the claws and remove the meat. Set meat aside and discard the shells. Twist the body from the tail and slice open the body and remove the insides leaving just the outer shell.  Remove the legs from the body shell. Save the shell. Use chef’s scissors to cut the outer edges of the underside of the tail and remove the meat. Discard the cut tail shell piece and save the tail shell. Clean the lobster meat over a bowl to save the juices.  Strain 3 cups of the liquid from the pot into the bowl.  Dice all the lobster meat except for four of the claws.  Leave  4 of the 8 claws whole.

Prepare the stuffing

Bring oven to 350 degrees and toast the brioche until golden brown, about seven to 10 minutes. In a large sauté pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and apricots and cook, stirring frequently. Cook until apricots have darkened and the pine nuts have toasted to deep brown.  Add in the onion, celery and fennel and stir. Cook for three to five minutes until the celery begins to soften.  Add the red pepper flake, fresh ground pepper, parsley and a pinch of salt.  Add the toasted brioche and toss the mixture.  Add three cups of the reserved liquid and combine with mixture.  Cook over low heat until the bread has absorbed the liquid, about three to five minutes.  Add the diced lobster meat to the mixture and toss to combine.  Keep the stuffing warm.

Position the Lobster Shells

Next position the lobster tail shells and body shells on a sheet tray.  Fill each shell with a generous portion of the warm stuffing.  Place the rosemary aside each shell.  Preheat broiler to medium-high and cook for seven to 10 minutes until golden brown.  Then add the four claws, one atop each lobster, and cook one more minute.  Serve with immediately and enjoy with your favorite wine.

© Wayne Howe 2018

 

 

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Christmas Recipes Cooking lobster and recipes Food, wine and lobster Holidays Maine Lobster Tails

A Traditional Christmas Eve Baked Stuffed Lobster Tail Recipe Sure to Please

baked stuffed maine lobster

Christmas Eve Baked Stuffed Lobster Tail Recipe

For families all across the country, the traditional Christmas Eve dinner is celebrated with lobster as either the main course or a first course. This year, for many chefs,  baked stuffed lobster tails will take center stage.

Here is a traditional Christmas Eve baked stuffed lobster tail recipe, courtesy of Chef Christopher Russel of Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  Russell is a former Maine Lobster Council Chef of the Year.

One Maine Lobster Per Person

Plan on one  1-1/2  pound-lobster per person, or if convenience dictates,  fresh or frozen lobster tails may be purchased instead of whole live lobster.

INGREDIENTS:

(4 servings, cook time 20 minutes,  preparation 25 minutes, total meal in 45 minutes)

4 live Maine lobsters, each 1-1/2 pounds *
8 Tablespoons butter
2 Cups finely chopped onions (about 2 medium)
4 Tablespoons  fresh parsley finely chopped
2 Teaspoons Old Bay seafood seasoning
4 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 Cups Ritz crackers crumbled (6 ounces)

DIRECTIONS:

Boil salted water in a large kettle or pot. Cook the whole lobsters for 5 minutes. Remove lobsters and place in an ice water tub to cool.  Crack and pick the meat from the claws, knuckles and body. Chop lobster meat into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Split the tails lengthwise down the center with a sharp knife, being sure to keep the shell-side of the lobsters facing up. Make sure to keep the shells intact. Remove the tail meat from the shell and remove the intestinal track from the meat. Then carefully insert the whole tail meat back into the shell.

For the stuffing, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion. Sauté until soft. Stir in the parsley, Old Bay seasoning and lemon juice. Remove the skillet from heat and let cool. Stir in the chopped lobster claw and knuckle meat. Gently add in the cracker crumbs and stir. Using a spoon, add the the stuffing into the lobster tails. Refrigerate the lobster tails until ready to bake. When ready, preheat the oven to 425-degrees .  Bake the tails until the stuffing is golden and crisp,  about 15 – 20 minutes. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon and let the dinner party begin!

NUTRITIONAL:

Per serving:

658 calories

46 grams protein

37 grams carbohydrates

36 grams fat

1196 mg. sodium

2 grams fiber

* Instead of whole lobster, the dish may also be prepared with frozen Maine lobster tails. Boil water and just blanch the tails and carefully remove the meat, leaving the shell intact. Substitute 16 ounces of raw Maine crab meat or shrimp instead of the lobster knuckle and claw meat. Sauté the crab meat or shrimp with the onion and finish preparing the stuffing and the lobster tails as directed.5

© Wayne Howe 2018

 

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