How To Cook A Baked Stuffed Lobster
New England Style Baked Stuffed Lobster
Lobster is a special culinary treat, whether ordered at a seafood restaurant or purchased at a seafood retailer for cooking at home. While a steamed or boiled lobster and dipped in melted butter is absolutely succulent, stuffing a lobster with a scallop & butter cracker mixture takes this delicacy up another notch on the flavor scale and is one of our favorite ways to enjoy this summertime treat.
Here in New England where fleets of lobster fishermen bring in their catch on daily basis, we are especially fortunate to buy ocean-fresh lobsters literally "at the dock". If you live further inland, live lobsters ship well and are available at many retailers that specialize in seafood. Frozen lobster tails are another option, and work well for this baked stuffed lobster recipe.
A 1 to 2 pound lobster is an average sized portion for each person. When buying live lobster, purchase only fresh and lively lobsters from a reliable fishmonger. Typically displayed in a saltwater-filled tank, the lobster claws are banded to protect the lobsters from fighting and damaging each other. Select lobster that are active and alert (ask the salesperson to reach in and show you the lobster you choose before they bag it for sale), and avoid any sluggish or dead lobsters.
You will also need about six ounces of fresh scallops (per person) for the stuffing. We prefer using big, plump sea scallops, though bay scallops that are smaller in size and often less expensive will work just fine for this recipe.
Here's how we make our favorite New England lobster recipe.
How To Cook A Baked Stuffed Lobster
There are two keys to cooking a tasty baked stuffed lobster:
Do not overcook the lobster
If you ever had a tough, dry and stringy baked stuffed lobster at a restaurant, the chances are pretty good that the lobster was split, stuffed and shoved into the oven to bake. By time the stuffing cooks through, the tender lobster meat is overcooked.
Our solution: steam the lobster first, cooking it to bright red perfection. Then, stuff the lobster and heat the stuffing through with a quick trip through the oven.
Be generous with the stuffing
And we don't mean just fill the lobster with a pile of breadcrumbs. Instead, pack in the scallops and load up the stuffing with extra lobster meat from the claws. For a extra-packed stuffing, steam a couple of extra lobsters and add their meat to the stuffing.
Step 1: Steam the Lobsters
- 1 -1/4 to 2 lb lobster (per person)
- A very large pot with lid
- Steamer basket (optional)
- Steam the lobster: In a large pot with a lid, add just an inch or two of water and put it on high heat. Bring the water to a high boil, then drop the lobsters into the pot and cover with the lid. Depending on the size of the pot and the size of the lobsters, you may need to cook the lobsters in batches to allow for effective steaming. We usually cook three of four lobsters at a time, for about seven minutes.
- The lobsters are cooked when the shells turn to a bright red, and the curled tails snap back into place when straightened (use tongs!). Do not over cook the lobsters, or the meat will become tough.
- Let the steamed lobster cool, and then remove the claws. Clean the claws for the meat, to add later to the stuffing.
Step 2: Prepare the Stuffing
- 6 oz Fresh Bay or Sea Scallops (per person)
- Melted Butter
- Saut the scallops lightly in butter to sear the outsides, and then set aside to cool. The scallops will be cooked a second time after being mixed with the stuffing and then baked. If using sea scallops, cut the cooled scallops in half or into quarters for mixing into the stuffing.
- Crumble a bunch of crackers into a mixing bowl (we like Town House, but any similar type will do). Melt several tablespoons of butter, and add a little at a time to the crumbled crackers and mix together. Measurements are not exact; the goal is to moisten the crackers enough to bind them loosely together but without making them soggy.
- Add the scallops and claw meat, and combine.
Step 3: Stuff the Lobsters
- Take the cooled lobsters, turn them on their backs and with a sharp Chefs knife, split the underside shells of the lobsters from the head to the tail. Do not cut through to the back side of the shell.
- Once split, light spread the opening to expose the body cavity and the tail meat. Clean out the body cavity.
- Place the split and cleaned lobsters on a large cookie tray or other oven-proof tray, and then fill both the body cavity and tail sections of each lobster with the scallop, claw and cracker stuffing.
- Bake the stuffed lobsters in the oven at 350 degrees for a few minutes to warm the stuffing all of the way through. The cooking time will vary based upon the number of lobsters and the amount of stuffing in each.
- For the last couple of minutes, switch the oven to the broiler setting to lightly brown the top of the stuffing. Enjoy!
Have You Ever Tasted Lobster?
Fishing for Maine Lobster
Ever wonder where those delicious lobsters come from, or how they are caught? This short video follows a Maine lobster fisherman as he pulls up and empties a lobster pot.
To catch lobsters, lobsterman set out specially designed traps that are baited with fresh herring or similar bait fish. The trap is divided into different sections: after the trap sinks to the bottom of the ocean and is discovered by a hungry lobster, the crustacean climbs over the trap until it finds the opening. The lobster is funneled deeper into the trap as it tries to reach the food. When it finally finds the bait, the cleverly constructed funnel shape traps the lobster in the belly of the trap. As the Eagles song states: "You can enter, but you can never leave",
After a few days in the water, the lobsterman returns. Marked by a colorful buoy (and GSP coordinates), the lobsterman pulls up the trap to retrieve the captives. Only legal size lobsters are kept, with every small lobster and females carrying eggs are returned to the sea.