Lobster Bake

When we were Maine two weeks ago, a seafood place was just down the road.  We’d had boiled lobsters the night we arrived at the famous Thurston’s Lobster Pound.  We wanted to have lobster again, but do something different.  My parents described something called Lobster Newburg.  We’d brought along Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, and while it told us how to cook lobster, there was not a recipe for Lobster Newburg.   So this is what I came up with. I’m calling it Lobster Bake.

We started with 4 lobsters, totaling 5.5 pounds. They were culls, lacking one claw or having a smaller claw. This didn’t matter to us since we were going to be picking the meat out to bake. There wasn’t a very big pot at the place we rented so we had to steam them two at a time. Then we placed them in the sink to drain and picked the meat.

After slicing the meat into bite sized pieces we spread it in a buttered baking dish, about 9 x 12. We boiled a 6-8 fingerling potatoes in the water left from steaming the lobsters, sliced them and placed them over the meat.

At this point we covered and refrigerated the baking dish, and went for a day’s hike. When we came home, we sauteed 2 shallots in 3 tbsp butter until soft, then added 3 tbps flour and a dash of nutmeg and cooked a bit. Then I slowly added 1 cup warmed cream and 1.5 cups warmed milk, stirring constantly to create a sauce. We added salt and pepper to taste and cooked it until it was thick and coated the spoon. Then we stirred in 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese.

The sauce was poured over the lobster meat and potatoes, and stirred in.

We topped it all with breadcrumbs and baked it for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until it was bubbling to he sides and the breadcrumbs were starting to brown.

We sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese and but it back into melt for another 4-5 minutes. We served it with rice.

This made enough lobster bake for 4 of us with enough left for another meal. It was not quite as good warmed up, so if you make it for less than 8, I recommend halving the recipe, or inviting more people to join you.
Here’s a condensed version of the recipe.

Lobster Bake

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Serves 8

5.5 lbs live lobsters
6-8 fingerling or small potatoes, about 8 oz.
2 shallots
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
dash nutmeg
1 cup cream
1.5 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups Parmesan cheese, divided

Bring 2 inches of water to boil in a large pot with a lid. Place lobsters in the pot and steam for 5 minutes. Remove the lobsters to a colander or work surface to cool. You may have to do this into batches, but don’t drain the water when finished.

Scrub the potatoes, and then place in the water used for steaming the lobsters. Bring to a boil again and cook until soft.

Meanwhile pick the meat from the lobster tail and claws. (You can reserve the bodies and shells for lobster stock if desired). Chop the meat into bit sized pieces and place in a buttered baking dish.

When the potatoes are soft, slice or dice into bite sized pieces and place over the lobster meat.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and cook until soft. Warm the milk and cream in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg to the pan and stir well, cooking the flour for about 1 minute. While stirring, pour the milk and cream into the pan in a slow stream. If you’re patient and pour slowly the sauce thickens more quickly. If you pour it all in quickly, you’ll have to stir and cook it longer. Cook the sauce over medium until it is very thick. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the sauce over the lobster meat and potatoes and stir to coat. At this point you can refrigerate the dish for up to a day before baking.

Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and place in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the edges of the dish are bubbling and the breadcrumbs are starting to brown. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and cook 4-5 minutes longer until the cheese melts. Serve with rice.

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