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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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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Thanksgiving Lobster Recipe with Seasonal Nutmeg and Chestnut Flavorings

Happy Maine Lobster ThanksgivingNo holiday is more New England than Thanksgiving. The holiday dinner is based on Pilgrim lore.  So adding  a first course of steamed Maine lobster served in the shell with nutmeg vinaigrette and chestnut puree would add a wonderful dimension to the Thanksgiving tradition.  Not to mention being a big hit for guests and family.

Celebrity Chef Thanksgiving Lobster Recipe

The lobster recipe is from Boston celebrity Chef Todd English who is on the record for being a big fan of Thanksgiving day lobster.  The recipe first appeared in Food and Wine Magazine.  It is recommended that the nutmeg vinaigrette and chestnut puree be prepared the day before.  The lobster recipe calls for 10 1-1/4 pound live lobsters steamed, and then halved with the lobster meat served in the shell.
Steamed Lobster
The recipe will serve 20 people.
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  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • shallots, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Two 15-ounce cans whole chestnuts packed in water, drained
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Ten 1 1/4-pound steamed lobsters, halved
  • 1/4 pound mixed young salad greens 
  1. In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup of the stock with the cider, shallots, bay leaves and sherry vinegar. Boil over high heat until  reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add the heavy cream and nutmeg and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the remaining 1 cup of stock and the chestnuts and simmer until the liquid reduces by a third, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the maple syrup and butter. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and puree until smooth. Blend in the crème fraîche. Transfer the puree to a clean saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Gently reheat the nutmeg vinaigrette. Add the scallions and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cut the lobster tail meat into 1-inch chunks and replace it in the tail sections of the lobsters. Spoon half of the chestnut puree in the center of each of 2 large platters. Arrange the lobster halves around the puree. Spoon the warm nutmeg vinaigrette over the lobsters, garnish the platters with the greens and serve at once.

MAKE AHEAD The lobster recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Finish the vinaigrette and rewarm the chestnut puree before serving.

SELECTING A WINE The natural saltiness of lobster, as with any seafood, will amplify the flavor of a big fruity Chardonnay.  Go with a first course Chardonnay that is gently touched with fruit, and mostly un-oaked.

© Wayne Howe 2021

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