Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- 4 (1-1/2-pound) live lobsters
- Sea water (or salted fresh water)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced white mushrooms
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons pimiento, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup white bread crumbs, preferably homemade
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Into the large pot with a tight-fitting lid, pour about 2 inches of sea water. Cover the pot, and bring the water to a full, rolling boil. Drop the live lobsters head first into the pot as quickly as possible. Cover the pot immediately.
When the water returns to a rapid boil, steam the lobsters, allowing 12 minutes for 1-pounders, 15 to 18 minutes for 1-1/2-pounders, 10 to 22 minutes for 2-pounders, and 30 to 35 minutes for 3-pounders. To test for doneness, remove one lobster from the pot with tongs, holding it by one of the small legs. Give it a shake. If the leg pulls off, the lobster is done. If not, continue steaming until it does.
When the lobsters are done, remove them from the pot using tongs, cut off the strings and stop the cooking process by rinsing the lobsters under cold water. (If a tail has curved, straighten it and weigh it down with a small cutting board or heavy pan until it holds its shape.) Allow the lobsters to cool until you can handle them comfortably.
Remove the claws by twisting them off close to the body. Using a nutcracker and a pick or small fork, remove the claw meat. Set the meat aside. Remove the antennae and discard them, along with the claw shells.
Using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut a long oval 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide down the back of each lobster shell, from the back of the head to the point just before the tail fans out. (Work carefully; lobster shells cut the skin easily.) Pull out the tail meat, cut it into 1/2-inch chunks, and add it to the claw meat. Remove any coral-colored roe or green tomalley, and reserve it. Remove the gelatinous stomach sac and the intestinal vein down the tail, and discard them. (The lobsters may be prepared to this point up to 24 hours in advance. Wrap them tightly and refrigerate them.)
If the lobsters have been refrigerated, bring them to room temperature. One-half hour before serving, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the mushroom slices and green pepper, and saute them for about 5 minutes, until they are just soft.
Stir the flour into the mushrooms and pepper, and mix well. Let it cook for about 1 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the milk and, whisking constantly, bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in any tomalley and roe, the sherry, paprika, salt, and pepper. Simmer about 5 minutes. Add the pimiento and the lobster meat, and stir until they are coated with sauce. Taste, and adjust the seasonings.
Place the lobster shells on a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Remove the lobster mixture from the heat, and spoon it into the shells, dividing it evenly. Mix the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle it evenly over the lobster filling.
Bake the lobsters about 15 minutes, until the sauce bubbles and the bread crumbs are light brown. Remove them from the oven and serve them immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
Note: Locke-Ober's is a famous Boston restaurant and landmark that opened in 1879.
Source: The Plimoth Plantation New England Cookery Book by Malabar Hornblower (Harvard Common Press)
Reprinted with permission.