a recipe for delicious living
Stuffed Lobsters alla Scampi...Just For The Two of You
(February 14, 2008)
...submit your question to Lauren!
Angie asked Lauren:
My husband is coming home from a business trip on Thursday (which is Valentine's
Day) and I want to prepare a really special dinner. I was thinking of
making lobsters but I've never done this and I'm a bit nervous. I've read
that it's best to kill lobsters right before you cook them and, quite
honestly, I am not looking forward to killing them myself. Do I really
need to and, if not, how far in advance can I buy them already killed
and ready for cooking? Thanks for your help. I feel like a total novice
with this, so forgive the nervous tone in my question to you.
Well, your husband is sure in for a real "Valentine's Day Treat!" You
certainly don't need to kill lobsters yourself since your fish monger
will be happy to do this for you. It's true, though, that it's best to
go to the fish market as close as possible to cooking time, but you can
have the lobsters killed several hours ahead, just keep them very cold.
The best way to cook lobsters, when killing them in advance, is to have
them split and opened (like a butterfly). This is actually my favorite
way to prepare lobsters. After splitting them, I stuff them with an incredibly
savory mixture and then I roast them until done. The important part to
remember, when having a lobster killed in advance of cooking, is to ask
the fish monger to remove the intestinal vein that runs down one side
of the tail meat. This is because, if left in place, the lobster meat
could become mushy. This is especially true if the vein becomes ruptured.
However, when cooking a lobster right after being killed the vein should
not adversely affect the texture of the meat. Anyway, relax, and enjoy
a lovely, romantic meal with your hubby. Here's my favorite recipe for
Stuffed Lobsters alla Scampi.
Stuffed Lobsters alla Scampi...Just For The Two of You
Yield: serves 2, can be doubled
Eating lobster is a truly sensual, hands-on experience (especially
when it's just the two of you). So, to help remove inhibitions, dim the
lights, ignite the candles and place two finger bowls, filled with tepid
lemon-water, on the table. Oh, and if not using lobster bibs, don't wear
silk! Remember to have an extra set of napkins close by...
For the Lobsters:
- ½ cup (lightly packed) finely crushed buttery crackers (I use Ritz), from about
half of one sleeve of crackers
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup finely chopped scallions, (use the white and 1½ inches of the green)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ¼ rounded teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon strained fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 rounded tablespoon chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
- Optional stuffing embellishments: 1/3 pound large shrimp, shelled, deveined and
coarsely chopped, or 6 ounces jumbo lump crabmeat, or 4 thin slices of pancetta
(unsmoked bacon), fried until crisp, drained and crumbled
- 2 lobsters (1½ to 2 pounds each), split for broiling and claws cracked (see the sidebar)
- Suggested Accompaniments: lemon wedges, nut crackers, and melted whole butter or
1) To make the savory crumb topping: Crush
the crackers into fine crumbs using either the food processor fitted with
the steel blade, or place the crackers in an opened heavy-duty freezer
bag and roll over them with a rolling pin. Place the crumbs in a bowl.
Melt the butter in a 10-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and,
when bubbling, add the minced scallions, garlic, and pepper flakes, if
using. Sauté the vegetables until softened, 2 to 3 minutes, then stir
in the lemon juice, salt and black pepper, to taste. Stir about half of
this mixture into the crumbs along with the chopped parsley and more pepper
to make the stuffing. Set aside. Transfer the remaining scampi butter
to a small bowl. If adding shrimp, heat the same skillet, over medium
heat, with 2 teaspoons of the scampi butter. When hot, raise the heat
to high and stir in the coarsely chopped shrimp and cook, stirring constantly,
until they just loose their raw look, about 1 minute. Transfer the shrimp
to a bowl and season them with salt and pepper, to taste. If using the
crabmeat, just place it in a bowl and season the meat. If using the crumbled
bacon, stir this into the prepared seasoned crumb mixture.
2) To stuff and roast the lobsters: Line a large shallow
baking sheet with aluminum foil (shiny side up). If very wet, pat the
split lobsters dry and place them, opened and flesh side up, on the baking
sheet. Brush the flesh and cracked claws, liberally, with the reserved
scampi butter, spreading the lobsters open, so the flesh is completely
exposed. Make sure to snip through the tip of the fan-shaped tail, with
scissors, to help keep it from curling in the oven. Sprinkle the flesh
lightly with salt and liberally with pepper, then fill the cavities with
the sautéed shrimp or the crab meat, if using. Top this, generously, with
the seasoned crumbs.
Position the oven rack to the upper third shelf and
preheat the oven to 400°F for at least 30 minutes. Roast the lobsters
until the meat is tender and the stuffing is hot throughout, 15 to 18
minutes, depending on their size. If the lobsters are done before the
exterior is golden and crisp, run them under the broiler, taking care
not to let the crumbs burn.
To serve, place one whole lobster on an individual plate and serve immediately,
with lemon wedges and hot melted butter. (Don't forget the lobster bibs,
nut crackers, cocktail forks, finger bowls and extra napkins!)
Time Management Tips:
- The cracker crumbs can be
made days ahead and stored in a sealed plastic bag.
- The stuffing can be made early in the day and kept at a comfortable room temperature,
- The lobsters can be killed and stuffed, a few hours ahead (preferably not longer than
4 hours) and kept refrigerated, covered.
Questions for Lauren Groveman's Kitchen:
Lauren Groveman recipes have been featured
in many national magazines and local newspapers. Her books "The
I love to Cook Book: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends"
and "Lauren Groveman's Kitchen, Nurturing Food
for Family and Friends" are available through
For in depth information on Lauren Groveman as a writer, teacher, TV &
radio host, as well as her recipes and cooking tips visit her website at
Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and
blessed with three wonderful children.