Pan Roasted Christmas Eve Maine Lobster Dinner an Italian-American 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 2015

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.

 

© 2015 Lobsters-Online.Com

Tips for Cooking Fresh Maine Lobster Tails On a Gas Grill

Fresh lobster tails on the grill are perfect for just about any occasion. However, cooking lobster tails on the grill requires careful attention to timing and movement. Cooking over the dry heat of a gas grill can dry the lobster meat out or cause it to cook it unevenly. Lobster tails on the grill should be rotated on the grill to make sure the tail meat cooks evenly. And the tails should be turned only once. Start cooking the lobster tail with the flesh side down. Then for the last three minutes flip the lobster onto the shell side.

Maine lobster tail on a plate
Fresh Maine Lobster Tail Garnished with Lemon Slice and Asparagus

Preparation:

Split the lobster’s tails in half lengthwise and press the flesh open. Add the ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir. Brush the oil sauce onto the flesh side of the lobster tail. Pre-heat the grill to medium-high temperature. Place tails on the grill flesh side down and cook for seven minutes. Four minutes on the flesh side and three minutes on the shell side. Do not over cook. Remove the tails from the heat and serve immediately.

Prep Time: 13 minutes
Grill Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: About 20 minutes
Servings: Serves 3 to 6 (depending on how lucky your guests are)

Ingredients:

  • 6 4-to-6 oz fresh lobster tails (make sure they are fully thawed if previously frozen)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

As an option, garnish with fresh lemon slice and serve with grilled asparagus.  Grilled fresh lobster tails; outdoor entertaining at its best.

© Lobsters-Online.Com 2015

Steaming or boiling lobster. Which is best?

Steaming or boiling lobster?  That is the question.

With the great anticipation of the return of the outdoor cooking (bye bye winter),  lobster chef’s everywhere will soon be back to pondering the same old question.
Whether “tis better to boil or steam a live lobster.  What’s the best lobster recipe?
Two pound steamed Maine lobsters on a plate
Two Pound Steamed Maine Lobsters
 Boiling a Maine lobster is the easiest way to cook and serve a whole lobster and a boiled lobster is easier to pick clean. When you have that large picnic or party and the kettle is kept full all day with lobster, boiling is just so much easier.  But steaming a lobster often yields the best results for eating.
steamer kettle for lobster and clams
Traditional kettle for steaming clams
Here’s why:  steaming is a more gentle process of cooking the meat and it preserves more flavor and tenderness. Steaming a lobster is also more forgiving on the chef since it is harder to overcook a lobster in a steam pot.  For true lobster lovers, steaming is the way to go.
So let’s get started.
First step is to order some freshly caught, hard shell Maine lobster.  Hard shells are recommended as the lobsters are usually stronger and healthier and the hard shell lobster will have the most meat. 
Then choose a big four to five-gallon kettle or pot with a tight lid.  This size pot should be able to easily handle up to eight pounds of lobster.  Remember, don’t crowd the lobster into the pot or you will get uneven results.  It is best to have the right size pot.
Add two to three inches of sea water to the cover the bottom of the pot.  If you don’t have access to the Atlantic Ocean, don’t worry.  Use filtered fresh water and add lots of sea salt:  one to two tablespoons per quart.
Place a steaming rack inside the pot and use high heat to bring the water to a rolling boil.  If you wish, you may remove the rubber lobster claw bands.  Place the live lobster one at a time and head first into the pot and cover.  Start timing the lobster and do not overcook.
Hard Shell  Weight*
Steam:
1 pound
8-10 minutes
1-1/4 pounds
10-12 minutes
1-1/2 pounds
12-14 minutes
1-3/4 pounds
15-17 minutes
2 pounds
16-18  minutes
2-1/2 pounds
18-20 minutes
3 pounds
20-30 minutes
5 pounds
35-45 (or more) minutes

*Reduce time by 3 minutes for soft shell lobster.
Half way through the allotted cook time, open the lid and move the lobster around in the pot.  It is important to shift the lobster so they all cook evenly.  If necessary, you may add a little more water but no more salt is required.
The most important step for all lobster chefs is determining when the lobsters are done.  The first rule, do not to overcook the lobster.  A lobster shell will be bright red when fully cooked and the meat white. 
So what’s the best way to tell when the lobsters are done?
Care must be taken with large lobster as they will be red but they may not be fully cooked.  And a lobster in the top of the pot may not have cooked as fast as one at the bottom.
One popular practice is to give one of the lobster antennae a good pull while the lobster is still in the steamer pot.    If the antenna pops off, it is a good sign the lobster is done.  Another step is to use tongs to remove one lobster and cut a small slice at the bottom of the tail.  If the meat is fully changed form translucent to white, it’s done.  Note: The lobster will continue to cook for a minute even after it’s taken out of the pot, so again, do not overcook.
Allow steamed lobster to drain for a minute. You may pierce the body and tail with a knife to help drain the water.  Then serve the lobster right away with a side of melted butter and a slice of lemon.   To make eating fun and easy, serve with lobster bib and steel cracker accessory kits.

Try This Tuscan Style Grilled Lobster Recipe for Father’s Day

Everyone who has ever been to Tuscany has fallen in love with its history, charm, and, of course, its FOOD!  Italian Tuscan style recipes have made their way all over — even to Cape Cod — so try this Tuscan Style grilled lobster recipe just in time for Father’s Day 2014.

Visitors to Italy often learn that the Italian food they eat there often does not look, or taste, the same as it does back home.  But the regional distinctions and flavors of Italy often translate very well to dishes prepared using our wonderful New England seafood.  From a Boston fine dining Ristorante to a seacoast resort, New Englanders love their seafood prepared with the flavors of Italy.

We are fortunate to have Chef Dan from the Lobster Trap Restaurant in Bourne, Mass share his recipe for Tuscan Style grilled whole lobster.  This Italian style dish has been given just the right Cape Cod touch.  Be sure to start with fresh, live hard-shell whole lobster.  Preparing whole live lobster for the grill can be a bit intimidating for first timers, but trust us, the results are worth it.  So go ahead and try Chef Dan’s Tuscan Style grilled lobster recipe.  And enjoy!.

Tuscan Style Grilled Lobster Recipe for Father’s Day

© Lobsters-Online.Com 2014

Original Lobster Dish Recipe Wanted

 

Calling all chefs — It’s that time of year to put your best original lobster dish recipe down on paper.  The Maine Lobster Council announced today that it is now accepting submissions for its Annual Maine Lobster Chef of the Year Competition.
The Lobster Chef Competition is a roll-up-your-sleeves cook-off that is part of the Harvest on the Harbor Festival celebrated in Portland, Maine in late October.  When you add “bold and innovative” to “fresh and local,” you’ve described the spirit of the event, according to festival organizers.  All recipes must be original and include Maine Lobster.  And based on past submissions, these folks do not fool around. 
A quick reading of past recipes is enough to bring both cooks and seafood lovers to their feet with a cheer. 

2010 Winner Lobster Tail Arugula  (Source: Maine Lobster Council)
The 2010 winning recipe was Herb Grilled Maine Lobster Tail on Arugula with Chive Ricotta Gnocchi &Corn Milk.   The recipe was from Chef Kelly Patrick Farrin from the Azure Café in Freeport, Maine.  At Azure, Chef Farrin boasts creative Italian cuisine using fresh Maine Lobster and other local ingredients.  Farrin was educated at the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Essex, Vermont.
The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2011, and must include a written original recipe and photo of the dish.  Judges will select the finalists and there will be a $1,000 prize to the winner of the cook-off.
The Maine Lobster Council promotes the cook-off as part of the larger event sponsored by the Portland Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. The finalists will compete for the title before an audience of 200 lobster enthusiasts, journalists and industry representatives.  The audience will watch each of the chefs demonstrate their recipes, taste a sample of each and will vote for their favorite.
Last year, more than 5,000 people attended the three day event.  But if you are not planning on being in Maine for the festival, well perhaps a little of Maine can come to you to help out you out with your own favorite lobster recipe.
“No matter where the cook calls home, fresh Maine lobster is the key ingredient to all winning lobster recipes,” said Wayne Howe, manager of the LobsterOnline web site.  “Since 1997 we have been providing chefs of all types, from Boston to Hawaii, with live lobster and New England seafood.  From our docks and facilities in Maine and Cape Cod, we can ship to chefs everywhere.”
“Simply order today by 2:30 p.m. and live lobster can be at your door the next day,” Howe said.  “That will help to make all chefs winners.”

LobsterOnline.Com