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Old 09-29-2006, 07:36 AM   #1
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Stuffed Lobster

I usually experiement with three or four recipes a week. This has been an expensive week trying out stuffed lobster recipes...

(Experimenting with Rice Pilafs is much more cost effective by the way...)

Anyhoo, I'm gatheirng up various recipes, combining various ingredients/techniques, and trying to develop a recipe that has everything I'm looking for. I'd love to hear what you guys/gals do for this dish.

I just picked up three more 1.5lb bugs this morning to try some more recipes out with. Let's see those recipes! (please ) I'll post what I came up with this Sunday. Hopefully by then I'll have it just right.

I picked up The French Laundry cookbook awhile back, and fell in love with the succulent butter poaching technique Keller describes (it's usually how I cook lobster now). I cheated the mission with a couple of the bugs yesterday...

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Old 09-29-2006, 08:08 AM   #2
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I really like the flavor of fennel with lobster, i don't have a specific recipe to share because i usually make up as i go, but tarragon or fennel is good with it in my oppinion. PS, love the signature, i remember that episode.
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Old 09-29-2006, 08:37 AM   #3
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If you have Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, try making the stuffing recipe for Cajun Devilled Stuffed Crabs, sub out the lobster innards for the crab, and use that mix to stuff the bugs with. You may have to tone down the peppers, as it's really hot, and might overpower the bugs.

I also have a recipe for a Shrimp and Ham cheese stuffing mixture for mushrooms that might work out good for lobster. Never tried that angle, though. I usually made the cheese mixture up, left out the shrimp, and used the cheese mix for cheese toasts that were unbelievable.
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Old 09-29-2006, 09:20 AM   #4
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The very best stuffed lobster I've ever eaten was at Locke-Ober in Boston. They still make it there, every day. It is SO rich, and SO delicious!

I googled "Lobster Savannah," and it brought me to this link: http://homecooking.about.com/od/shel.../r/blsea92.htm I would have copied and pasted it here, but for the copyright laws, and for the difficulty they make in copying their pages.

If you make this, I can almost certainly guarantee you will not be sorry. It's fabulous!

PS I souldn't sub a thing!
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Old 09-29-2006, 10:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
I picked up The French Laundry cookbook awhile back, and fell in love with the succulent butter poaching technique Keller describes (it's usually how I cook lobster now).
thanks to tk, i also poach my lobsters in butter and even my shrimp... also poach my tuna in evoo when i want it cooked throughout for use in italian recipes
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:36 AM   #6
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I adore lobster, and prefer it in its' most natural state - unstuffed. Although, I did have a crab stuffed lobster that was pretty good. Alton Brown had a seg on cooking lobster... sure you can find it on Food Network. The bf was a scuba diver and brought them right to my front door - LIVE -- asked me for a wire hanger, & I left the room. He put them in a pot of boiling water, as I recall. I like em fresh with a little drawn butter. If I had plenty of lobster hanging around - I'd make lobster salad on a crusty roll.
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:50 AM   #7
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I'm trying to figure out the best combination of cooking methods. There seem to be a bunch of different ways people go about it...

1. Raw halves directly under the broiler.
2. Raw halves baked at low temps of 300-350ºF.
3. Raw halves baked at high temps of 400-475ºF.

Then some steam/boil for 2-7min before undergoing the above cooking methods (almost every recipe it seems).

I'm not squeemish when it comes to dispatching a lobster, so I figured going directly into the oven raw would maximize the flavor (in halves, not whole crawling around... ). I've found that doing so causes the tail muscle to seize up and lift up almost to a 90º angle to the pan even at 325ºF after just a couple minutes. I think steaming or boiling first allows the tail to contract parallel to the body so that when the bug is halved it will be flat.

Next I'm going to try steaming for a couple minutes, shocking the lobster, and then splitting/prepping.

Thomas Keller and McGee both say that cooking lobster with violent heat causes the tail to toughen. Roasting at 325º and pulling the halves when the tailmeat hits 140ºF has yielded the most tender results thus far (but no where near what you get with butter poaching!). I give the claws a 5-10min head start so they finish at the same time.

Haven't found a perfect stuffing yet either. The CIA's stuffing with dry breadcrumbs is terrible, although I like their finely minced onion/celery/red bell pepper base. I want something that can absorb all the lobster juices/butter while not becoming a paste (and of course I like a crispy top layer). I'm trying to keep it simple. I add the chopped leg meat into it for extra flavor. I think I'll try some stale (but not dry) "fresh" breadcrumbs with the "trinity" base, chopped leg meat, butter, chives, S&P.

I like everything from scratch, so the popular Ritz Cracker method doesn't excite me either.

I have a lot of recipes that call for a 2min parboil and then 15min in a 450º oven with a 1.5lb bug. Well that equals rubber in my kitchen - not quite sure how they do that. I'm also thinking of a good steaming, and then a quick broiler pass to brown the stuffing, but that won't give the stuffing the really good flavor it gets by cooking it slow and having it absorb the juices.

Lots of variables here - trying to figure out how they move independently to one another as I change things.

Anyhoo, thats where I'm at. Got one bug left for today.
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:57 AM   #8
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I wouldn't stuff the lobster. No reason to, especially when poached in butter as mentioned above. Makes an outstanding lobster.

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Old 09-29-2006, 12:21 PM   #9
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Yeah, I ate two lobsters yesterday that were poached in butter. It's definetly the way I like to go when I eat 'em. I steam them for just a few minutes so the meat comes away from the exoskeleton cleanly (it's still raw), and then I poach the pieces as Keller does.

I read the CIA's textbook cover to cover (very carefully), and made a list of recipes that I grew up with or wanted to make to learn new skills. I also have seven or eight books on American regional cuisine I did the same with. Stuffed Lobster came up on the list this week for experimenting with.

I really want a classic traditional version, but I need to get the combination of cooking methods, temps, and time figured out (along with a great stuffing).
-----
Oh, I just had some great fun a few minutes ago after wiping down my board and knocking a full cup of minced green bell pepper onto the floor...

Thats the first and last time I'm ever doing that...
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Old 09-29-2006, 01:06 PM   #10
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I have that Alton Brown episode on Stuffed Lobster (I bought the big DVD pack). Great info, but he uses the shortcut Ritz Cracker stuffing, and recommends an ungodly amount of time in an extremely hot oven. I tried his recipe the other day and didn't think it came out too great.

Oh well.

Off to my last lobster for the day.
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Old 09-29-2006, 03:26 PM   #11
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I am not into making or stuffing lobster but I enjoy going out for a wonderfull lobster dinner.
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Old 09-29-2006, 04:06 PM   #12
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Well steaming for two minutes and then shocking did exactly as I predicted. The tail curls up parallel to the body, and then when you split it/cook it the tail stays flat.

Still unsure about a good temp. I think 145º may be a bit overdone for lobster. I'm going to try the quick steam followed by roasting at 300º until the Lobster reaches 130ºF. I'll have to pick up a few more bugs tomorrow.
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Old 09-29-2006, 06:04 PM   #13
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Here's a recipe from Joe's Crab Shack:

http://www.cajuncookingrecipes.com/r...p?recipeid=668

And here is a page that has several recipes from the Food Network:

http://web.foodnetwork.com/food/web/...rchType=Recipe
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Old 10-01-2006, 10:10 AM   #14
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Thanks guys!

I've started down another path here. Instead of leaving the tailpiece whole and submitting it to high temps in the oven, I removed all the meat in the lobster, broke it into chunky pieces, and incorporated it into one master stuffing that fills the entire shell. I am getting excellent results now, as the lobster is lightly steamed within the buttery stuffing maintaining it's fabulous flavor and texture similar to butter poaching (but still not quite as good).

Have to pick up a few more bugs today again to try some combinations, then I'll post tonight with what I came up with.

Off to the grocery store...
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:41 PM   #15
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Ok... I don't feel that it's 100% yet - but it's about 95% of what I imagine it to be . I still feel there is something small thats missing... haven't put a finger on it yet. Maybe it's just that I feel that butter poaching is the ultimate lobster preparation.

It's a modified version that Emeril uses.

1 1-1/2lb Lobster
1-T Butter
1-T Butter (Melted)
1-T Minced Shallot
1-T Minced Celery
1-T Minced Red Bell Pepper
1-T Minced Green Bell Pepper
1 Clove Garlic - Minced
1-t Minced Parsley
2-T Dry White Wine
1-t Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2-t Seafood Spice (e.g. Old Bay or Creole Essence)
3/4-C Crushed Garlic Croutons (Homemade is Best)
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground White Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Steam the lobster for two minutes, then plunge it into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Trim the legs, claws/knuckles, and split the lobster in half lengthwise. Thoroughly wash out the innards and digestive track. Remove all the meat from the tail, claws/knuckles, legs, and roughly chop it then set it aside. Remove the lung sections from each lobster half, being careful to leave the pieces of connective tissue that holds the cephalothorax to the tail shell. Dry the shells in the oven.

Heat a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat and sweat the shallot, celery, and peppers until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and parsley and cook for an additional minute or two. Remove the pan from the heat and incorporate the lobster. Stir in the wine, lemon juice, and seafood seasoning. Fold in the crushed croutons and melted butter. Season with kosher salt and white pepper.

Stuff the lobster shell halves and bake for 15-20min (15-16min seems to work best for me, but the retained heat in my skillet might be greater than someone with thinner pans which partially cooks the lobster while bringing the stuffing together).

Serve with a lemon wedge for squeezing. With a side salad and soup or dessert this will easily feed two people.

A quick lobster infused cream sauce might be perfect to drizzle over the plate... maybe thats what it could use. I'll have to try that out tomorrow. Oh, subbing lobster butter for the tablespoon that is folded into the stuffing might be killer too.
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Old 10-01-2006, 08:54 PM   #16
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Oh, and here is the blend of spices I used as a "Seafood Spice"...

2-T Paprika
2-T Kosher Salt
2-T Garlic Powder
1-T Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1-T Onion Powder
1-t Cayenne Pepper
1-t Dried Oregano
1-t Dried Thyme
1/2-t Celery Seed

It's kind of like Emeril's Creole spice mix with the addition of celery seed and different ratios of the other spices.
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Old 10-01-2006, 09:00 PM   #17
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Again, for homemade garlic crouton crumbs/pieces...

Old Bread
Butter
Garlic

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Melt a stick of butter over medium-low heat. Add four large cloves of garlic that have been crushed with the broadside of a chef's knife. Simmer until the garlic turns a golden brown the remove from the heat.

Cut the bread into 3/4" thick slices and brush on both sides with garlic butter. Bake until the croutons are thoroughly crisp with no moisture left at their centers. Cool on wire racks, then crush in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin (or wine bottle like I use).
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Old 10-02-2006, 12:21 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
I steam them for just a few minutes so the meat comes away from the exoskeleton cleanly (it's still raw), and then I poach the pieces as Keller does.
Just curious, do you find a difference between steaming and simmering in your first step? I am trying to think back, but I am almost positive that I read a whole essay on this in Rob Wolke's "What Einstein Told His Cook" - good book, if I remember correctly I think his conclusion was the results were similar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
Oh, I just had some great fun a few minutes ago after wiping down my board and knocking a full cup of minced green bell pepper onto the floor...
Did that once, except it wasnt a cup of chopped peppers, but rather a big bowl of grilled and smoky pureed fresh tomatoes - after having sweated 15 minutes in front of the grill, not fun!


In your latest recipe, you chopped tail, claw and leg meat into the stuffing, did you notice any difference in the cooking time for the claw meat vs tail meat (since when you were doing them separate you were introducing the claws into the oven earlier) now that they were all chopped up together?

Thanks for sharing your experiments!!
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Old 10-02-2006, 07:20 AM   #19
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The claws took longer to cook because they were compact with less surface area than the long strip of tailmeat with direct exposure to the radiant heat of the oven walls. Removing all the meat after a quick 2min steam allows you to chop it into roughly equal size pieces which yields an even cooktime for all the meat. Within the stuffing it's also cooking by a gentle moist heat rather than a violent exposure to the 375ºF oven temp. This gave the meat a tender texture throughout rather than a seized up slightly-chewy exterior.

I still don't have that recipe 100%. I can tell I really nailed something when I crave it the next day. The above recipe was definetly good, but not yearning for another bite good. I bought one more lobster this morning to try a couple small changes. That makes twelve bugs this week, and I've pretty much drained the money I set aside for this project. I'll move on after today to try some other recipes while I ponder this one some more. Picked up some sirloin and tenderloin tips to play around with Stroganoff recipes tomorrow.

As far as steaming vs boiling, I almost always opt for the former (an exception might be a quick blanch/shock to bring out the color in green veggies, or to cook certain roots like potatoes of carrots). I can get a steamer going much quicker than a giant pot of water, and according to some, you retain more nutrients by not releasing them into the water. I've tried steaming vs boiling with a few vegetables, and I find the results similar. The catch is, you need a lot of water to dampen the effects of the room temp veggies sucking heat out of the water. If you don't, the process slows and you can develop a mushiness or discoloration by the time the vegetables are finished. Steaming recovers very quickly over high heat once you put the lid back on. BUT, unless you use multiple trays, you are severely limited by the amount of steaming you can do at once. You don't want things piled on top of one another or they won't cook evenly. For commerical applications or large 10+ people meals I would probably revert to an 8qt pot with 6qt of boiling salted water. One of my favorite weekday meals is a piece of meat pounded out and sauteed served with some roasted roots, steamed green beans, and a savory pan sauce. The beans are always the last thing prepared as they take just a few minutes. I often put them in just as the pan sauce is coming together.

Anyhoo, off to do some cooking.
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Old 10-02-2006, 08:14 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven S
I am trying to think back, but I am almost positive that I read a whole essay on this in Rob Wolke's "What Einstein Told His Cook" - good book, if I remember correctly I think his conclusion was the results were similar.


I seem to remember that part of the book as well.

I also so a show once where a number of chefs in Maine were asked if there was a diffeence in taste between boiling or steaming. Every single chef agreed that there was no taste difference at all, but at the same time each had a preference of one over the other.

I personally like steaming better for the sole reason that it is less messy. When you crack open a boiled lobster you get a ton of water that pours out. You get a lot less of that with a steamed lobster.
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