In preparation for an upcoming celebration I asked my wife if she would like to go out to a fancy restaurant. She said she preferred either a lobster or dry aged good beef cooked at home. So I ordered two live lobsters that were each slightly over 2 lbs. They arrived the next day loose in a Styrofoam box. They were quite lively, moving around and according to my wife, focused on getting out of the box. Since I was not at home at the time, my wife was at a bit of loss as to what to do with them. She taped the box shut to prevent a “great escape” and put the box in the refrigerator. After some thought I decided to “bake” the lobsters stuffed with crab meat and topped with bread crumbs.
In the past we have tried boiling lobsters but that tends to get messy. First you need a pot that is big enough, secondly the process is somewhat gruesome, and thirdly the lobsters end up cooked but waterlogged. We have also asked to have them steamed at the store where we bought them. Steaming is better than boiling at home, but we get the impression some of the lobsters have been residing in the tanks for quite some time because they have algae growing on their shells which is not very appealing. (The mail-order lobsters were not cloaked in any algae). I decided to dispatch these fellows in the quickest most humane way possible. I had read somewhere that putting them in the freezer for a short period would anesthetize them but we did not have enough space in the freezer so I covered them in ice cubes. Maybe it would have been more effective to put them in the freezer because even with the ice cube bath this guy was feisty enough to challenge the heavy and sharp chef’s knife in front of him. I used the tip of the knife to pierce the junction between the head and abdominal segments cutting through the entire head section in one fell-swoop. This is the least pleasant aspect of a lobster dinner but I like to think this was much quicker than death by hot boiling water.
I then cut the tail into half by extending the cut I made in the head section. I cleaned the head section leaving only the edible portions; the “coral” (it looks green when raw but will turn orange or coral color when cooked) and liver or “tamalley”. I then removed the intestine along the upper portion of the tail meat. I put the lobsters on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil (see below).
I removed the rubber bands around the claws and baked them at 410F for 10 minutes. I then stuff the head cavity with crab meat (Jumbo lump) in Bechamel sauce* and also spread the crab over the tail meat (below).
* This is my usual bechamel sauce. I sautéed finely chopped onion (one medium) in butter (2 tbs) until semi-transparent and soft. I added flour (3 tbs) and kept sautéing until no “raw” flour remained and the onion pieces were all coated with the butter/flour mixture. I added 1 cup of cold milk at once and kept stirring until thickened. I seasoned with salt and white pepper. I did not use any other seasoning to preserve the delicate flavor of the crab and lobster meat. I then mixed in jombo lump crab meat (about 8oz).
I then, spread bread crumbs (Panko) mixed with chopped parsley, olive oil and grated parmesan cheese (below) and place it back to the oven.
After 15 more minutes, the lobsters were done and bread crumbs got nicely brown and crispy (below).
For libation, we started with Cuvee Mumm Napa DVX 2001 which we had kept for over 10 years in our refrigerator for a special occasion like this. It was very nice with fine small bubbles and very slight toasted bread aroma with green apple and citrus. Although we usually do not drink white wine, we made an exception and opened Robert Young Chardonnay Red Winery Road 2007. This is one of the rare “old” California style oaked chardonnay with nice buttery oaky flavors.
The lobsters were sweet and great. Getting to the claw meat was as always a bit of work but at the end it was well worth it.