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How to Prepare Live Maine Lobster for Broiling

Everyone loves baked stuffed lobster.  But how to prepare live Maine Lobster for broiling at home can be a challenge. It’s not a job for the feint of heart. Fresh lobsters have to be prepared just so, and this means killing the live lobster by hand with a sharp chef’s knife.

Many people are just uncomfortable with this step but experts assure us the final preparation is quick and painless for lobster.  Lobsters are killed by inserting a sharp blade in the underside where the tail and body meet.

Boston baked stuffed lobster recipeA properly prepared Boston Baked Stuffed Lobster

Timing is very important in preparing baked stuffed lobster. It is best to have all ingredients ready and the dinner timed.  Always wait until the last minute to kill the lobsters.  This ensures all the natural flavors and juices will be preserved.

Move quickly and wear gloves if you want to protect your hands from the spiny shell.   If you are going to use the claw meat in the stuffing, place the lobster on its stomach and chop off the claws with a cleaver and set aside. If you are going to serve the lobster with the claws intact, skip this step and leave the claws on the lobster.

Next, place the lobster on its back, grasp the tail firmly, and insert a sharp knife into the body where the abdomen meets the tail and draw the knife towards the head.  Take care not to cut all the way through the shell.  Then reverse the cut, this time holding the body and drawing the knife down the tail.  Do not cut the back of the lobster shell.

Now you have to split the lobster with your fingers.  With the lobster on its back, press down with the fingers until the shell cracks open exposing the tail and body cavities. All the lobster is edible except the stomach, a hard sac near the head, and intestinal vein.  Remove and discard the stomach and the intestinal vein.  The greenish tomalley and coral roe are edible and should be collected into a small dish and set aside for the stuffing.

Famous Boston Baked Stuffed Lobster Recipe  (Jasper White)

Ingredients:

  • Two,  2-pound hard shell, select-grade lobsters
  • ¼ cup dried cornbread, crumbled
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted for brushing
  • 1 onion, medium, finely diced
  • 2 sprigs tarragon leaves coarsely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 sprigs Italian parsley, coarsely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and cut into small ½ inch pieces
  • 2 ounces fresh sea scallops, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 ounces crab meat, picked clean of cartilage
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Prepare the lobster for broiling and set aside.

Melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and season with pepper and salt. Cook until soft but not brown. Stir in parsley and tarragon. Add the shrimp, scallops and crab. Cook for one (1) minute.  Remove from heat and cool.

Recover the tomalley and roe and break into small pieces with a fork.  Add it to the seafood mixture.  Gently stir in the cornbread and season with salt and pepper.

If you are using the lobster claw meat in the stuffing, remove meat from the claws,   cut it into ½ inch pieces and add to seafood.

If you are serving the claws with the lobster, crack each claw with the backside of a large knife.  Place the lobsters on a baking sheet.  Divide the seafood stuffing evenly into the body cavity of each lobster.  Pack loosely so as not to affect the even cooking of the lobster.

Brush the melted butter over the exposed tail meat, stuffing and claws.  Cook until the stuffing is crisp and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve immediately.

For wine pairing, we recommend a Chardonnay  that is gently touched with fruit, and mostly un-oaked.

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