What About Serving Jumbo Lobster for New Years Eve Dinner

Every New Year holiday there is heard the same debate about what size lobster to order for the New Year’s Eve dinner celebration. Do bigger lobster have more meat? Are bigger lobster tough when cooked? Are jumbo lobster priced better?

Jumbo eight pound live Maine lobster
Jumbo Eight Pound Lobster

There are differing opinions on the quality of taste between a smaller lobster and a jumbo lobster, but these opinions are based on legend and not fact. Cooked properly, a six-pound lobster will be just as delicious as a 1-1/2 pound lobster. However, care must be taken not to overcook a large lobster. Overcooked lobster meat will toughen quickly. Steaming is the most forgiving way to cook a jumbo lobster. So follow cooking instructions and tips carefully and your jumbo lobster will be just as succulent as a smaller lobster.

Fresh is Best

Among the most important factors affecting taste is freshness. Ocean fresh is best. For example, supermarket lobster that sit in tanks for weeks at a time will begin to lose weight as the claw meat shrinks. When cooked, the supermarket lobster won’t taste as succulent as an ocean fresh lobster.

The next important factor is to make sure the lobster is flavorful is to order what is called the “hard shell lobster.” Lobsters “molt,” which means they shed their shell as they grow. After molting, the lobster’s new shell is soft. During this growth period, lobsters are in a weakened condition and do not travel well. Soft-shell lobster also have less meat for their size and some people are of the opinion soft shells are not necessarily as flavorful as the hard shells. The connoisseur won’t take a chance and will usually avoid soft-shell lobster.

So the keys to succulent jumbo lobster is careful cooking, freshness and selecting hard shells, but are jumbo lobster also a good value?

Larger lobster have a higher volume-to-surface ratio, yielding a little more meat per pound. Not a big difference, but there is a difference. On a practical level, jumbo lobster have larger legs, swimmerets, body and shoulders. The meat in these parts of the lobster is considered a delicacy. The truth is, on a large lobster the meat in those places is much easier to get at then on a smaller lobster. The legs especially will have a higher volume of meat. The larger claws on jumbos will also offer up to 20% more of the very desirable sweet claw meat.

Wild Caught Lobster

The Maine lobster lives in the ocean and is still harvested much as they were in the 19th century. Lobster fishermen go out in season to collect lobster from their traps and the lobster is delivered to market daily. Since the harvest varies from month to month, lobster prices go up and down with supply and demand. Waterfront Maine lobster pounds such as the ones operated by the Lobster Trap Company allow the storage of ocean fresh lobster, helping to stabilize prices in the off season.

Big George the lobster
Jumbo Lobster Service

 

Jumbos begin at 2 ½ to three pounds with the weight measured wet, or right out of the tank. Some years the price-per-pound for jumbos is higher than quarters, halves and selects. Some years the price per pound is less. It just depends on the supply and the demand.

Lobsters-Online.Com ships only hand selected, fresh lobster. The hard-shell lobster are lively, healthy, and ocean fresh. By operating water-front lobster pounds in Maine, Lobsters-Online.Com is able to offer customers ocean-fresh jumbo lobster year round.

So go ahead an order some jumbo lobster for your New Year’s Eve dinner celebration. And have a Happy New Year!

© Lobsters-Online.Com 2016

Pan Roasted Christmas Eve Maine Lobster Dinner a Family Tradition

The Christmas Eve Maine Lobster seafood dinner is an Italian-American holiday tradition that is immensely popular in New England, so much so that serving wonderful seafood dishes on Christmas Eve has been embraced by people of all heritages. The historic seven-fish dinner has given way over the years to include elaborate spreads of cold shellfish such as oysters, clams and of course shrimp. But the starring role in the Christmas Eve celebration is now reserved for fresh Maine lobsters prepared any number of ways.

Pan roasted Maine Lobster Dinner Recipe
Pan Roasted Lobster

My neighbors always prepare several lobster courses on Christmas Eve with the favorite a pan roasted lobster flavored with Bourbon and served sizzling hot  in a creamy butter sauce.  Pan roasted lobster is a little tricky to prepare but with this favorite recipe the flavor is explosive and your family and guests will love it.

This favorite pan roasted lobster recipe allows the potent bourbon flavor to mingle wonderfully with the sweetness of the lobster. The use of fresh chervil imparts a hint of anise flavor to the lobster as well. And pan roasting lobster gives it a surprisingly tender texture.

For best results, you will need a large, heavy iron sauté pan or deep skillet, metal tongs and a large chef knife.  Make sure to use fresh, live hard-shell Maine lobster. Care must also be taken not to place the lobster pan too close to the heat in the oven or broiler.

The Christmas Eve pan roasted lobster recipe can be served as a main course for two or as a first course for four.

Pan Roasted Maine Lobster for Two (Based on Summer Shack Chef Jasper White Recipe)

  • 2 live, 2 pound hard-shell Maine lobsters (must  be hard shell)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 shallots (1 ½ ounces),  diced
  • ¼ cup bourbon (or cognac)
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced small and chilled
  • 1 tablespoon chervil finely chopped  (substitute parsley and tarragon mix if not available)
  • 1 tablespoon chives finely chopped
  • sea salt (or Kosher)
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler or oven as hot as possible (550F). Position the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.
    1. Kill the lobster by splitting them lengthwise. Remove any tomalley and roe found. Cut off the claws where the knuckle meets the carapace. Cut the lobster halves into quarters. Including the claws, you will now have 6 pieces of each lobster. Place the pieces shell side down on a plate.
    2. Place the tomalley and roe in a small bowl and use a fork to mash into small pieces.
    3. Place the 12-inch pan over the highest stove surface heat possible. Allow the pan to heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the peanut oil and heat until it forms a film on the pan. Slide the lobster pieces, shell side down, into the hot oil. Using tongs, move the pieces to sear the shells evenly.  Hold the lobster pieces m with the tongs and press the shells into the hot oil to sear. The claws need to be seared on only one side. When the shells have all turned bright red, which should take no more than 2 minutes, turn the pieces over. The oil will also be beautifully red tinged. Add the tomalley and roe to the pan.
    4. Place the pan in the oven. If using the broiler, cook for 2 minutes. If using the oven, cook for 3 minutes. The shells should be slightly browned, even a bit charred in places.
    5. Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove at maximum heat. Turn off the oven and put in your serving plates in to warm. Remember, the handle of the pan will be red-hot and will stay hot until the dish is complete. To avoid burns, wear oven mitts.
    6. Add the shallots to the fat in the pan and stir. Add the bourbon and ignite. Shake the pan until the flames die down. Add the wine and let the liquid in the pan reduce.  Turn the heat to low.
    7. Quickly remove the pieces of lobster and place, shell side down, on warm plates. Try to “reconstruct” the lobster so that it looks similar to a split lobster. Arrange the claws so that they lean into the center of the lobster.
    8. Return the pan to the heat and add the butter, chervil and chives. Swirl or stir the butter in the pan to create a creamy sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Spoon the sauce over the lobster pieces and serve at once.

 

Note on wine pairings: Champagne and other sparkling wines pair beautifully with shellfish and lobster dishes that have butter.  They work well with notes of anise, ginger and mild curry, as well as toasty flavors from breadcrumbs or nuts. Try a top of the line champagne with your pan roasted lobster.

© Lobsters-Online 2016

Downeast Cooking Tips that “Tug” on the Christmas Lobster

No 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.

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 steamed lobster with antenae
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 have cooked thousands of lobsters of all sizes.  Giving a slight tug on the antenna has worked for over 50 years for me.”

“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.”

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.”

 

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.

 

© 2016 Lobsters-Online.Com

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

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

Christmas Eve baked stuffed Maine Lobster
Christmas Eve Baked Stuffed Maine Lobster

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: 

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.  Pre-heat 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 immediately.

© Lobsters-Online.Com 2016