Crab-Stuffed Roasted Maine Lobster

By: Executive Chef Ben Pollinger, Oceana, New York City author of School of Fish

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Every fish house menu has some kind of fish—flounder, shrimp, or sole—stuffed with crab. Here’s my take on that classic. The lobster is butterflied—split lengthwise but not quite in half; just enough to crack it open for stuffing. The crab is aggressively flavored with fresh herbs and lemon and topped with an herbed panko crust for texture. This is a special occasion recipe but absolutely worth the trouble.

Serves 4 as an entrée.

Ingredients

FOR THE CRAB STUFFING

5 tablespoons Homemade Mayonnaise or good-quality store-bought mayonnaise

3 tablespoons chopped shallot (about 1 small)

2 teaspoons slivered seeded finger chile

1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives

1 tablespoon slivered fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon slivered fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked through for shell and cartilage

FOR THE SEASONED PANKO

1⁄2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1⁄2 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh chives

1⁄2 teaspoon slivered fresh Italian parsley

1⁄2 teaspoon slivered fresh tarragon

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE LOBSTER

Four 11⁄4-pound live Maine lobsters

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Freshly ground black pepper

Fine sea salt

Directions

  1. For the stuffing, stir together the mayonnaise, shallot, chile, chives, parsley, tarragon, lemon zest and juice, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Gently fold in the crab so as to not break it into pieces. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. For the panko, stir together the breadcrumbs, chives, parsley, tarragon, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper; set aside.
  3. Place the lobsters on a cutting board, underside facing up, and butterfly. Pull off the claws and knuckles. Remove the vein from the tails and the grain sacs from the heads; crack the claws as you would a cooked lobster.Arrange two racks in the top and center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  4. Arrange 2 lobsters cut side up on each baking sheet. Stuff each head cavity with one quarter of the crab mixture. Season the lobster tails with salt and pepper and drizzle each tail with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover with foil and roast the lobsters for 20 minutes, switching the baking sheets between the oven racks halfway through roasting for even cooking.
  5. Remove from the oven. Remove the foil and set aside the claws. Return the lobsters to the oven to continue roasting for 6 minutes more.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the panko mixture over the stuffing in each lobster. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Return to the oven and roast until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 4 minutes more.