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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Boston and Cape Cod Cooking lobster and recipes Food, wine and lobster Holidays Lobster

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

Cooking lobster and recipes Fishermen

Try this Favorite Maine lobster Steamed-in-Beer Recipe at Next Family Outing

Lobster steamed in beer

The next time you invite the family over for a lobster outing try this traditional old-time favorite Maine lobster steamed-in-beer recipe.  It’s a fun, easy way to prepare lobster and gives the lobster a great, robust down-east flavor.

You will need a pot or steaming kettle large enough to hold six lobsters, some sea salt, beer, fresh whole lemons and butter.   That’s it.

steamed Maine lobster

Maine Lobster

Ingredients:

  • Six 1-¼ pound live Maine Lobsters
  • Two cans of beer (do not use light beer)
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 2 sticks of butter and  2 whole lemons

Get Started with Maine Lobster Steamed in Beer Recipe:

  • Add about an inch of water to the pot. (Some Mainers use only beer)
  • If you don’t have seawater, add two tablespoons of sea salt.  You need to add salt even if you use all beer.  Always add salt when cooking live lobster. Traditional kettle for steaming lobster
  • Add two 12-oz. cans of beer, IPA beer is a good choice.  Don’t use light beer.
  • Bring the water and beer to a roiling boil over high heat.
  • Remove the rubber bands from the claws and add the lobsters head first. Cover tightly.  Wait for the pot to return to boil and start timing.
  • Steam the lobsters 14 to 15 minutes.  About halfway through, stir the lobster at least once to move the bottom lobsters to the top of the pot.
  • Melt the butter in small pan and slice the lemon into wedges.
  • When done the lobsters will be a bright red and the tails will be curled under the body of the lobster.  Remove the lobsters with tongs and pierce the body with chef’s knife to allow water to drain.
  • Serve immediately with melted butter poured in ramekins, lemon wedges and cracking utensils.

    Cook Any Size Maine Lobster

Note, if you want to cook different size lobsters you can.  For each pound, cook the lobster 13 minutes.  Then three minutes for each additional pound.  While steaming is a flexible way to prepare lobster, be careful not to overcook.

If you want to try this easy to prepare recipe and can’t go to Maine, live Maine lobster is now available for home delivery.

Check out this steamed in beer lobster video from Capt. John of Maine.  He takes you from boat to table with his easy to prepare recipe.

Try  some other ideas for outdoor entertaining while serving lobster.

© Wayne Howe 2017

 

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