Sunday, February 13, 2011

Crab Stuffed Lobster Tail

Crab stuffed lobster is one of the all time best selling Valentines Day and New Years Eve restaurant offerings!
     The best fresh seafood restaurants in Florida have their own docks for fishing boats to unload freshly caught fish.  The second best were fresh seafood restaurants that sent drivers to the docks to meet the fishing boats and bring the iced down fresh seafood back to the restaurant.  The rest of the seafood restaurants that have fresh or frozen seafood delivered are almost as good.
     Good fresh seafood needs no sauces or extensive preparation.  Plain raw, broiled or fried seafood are usually the only options at a good fresh seafood restaurant.  Owners good seafood restaurants take pride in serving the very best quality seafood with minimal preparation.
     Most east coast seafood restaurants offer a very nice crab stuffing to go with lobster, shrimp, pompano or flounder.  Just like in Baltimore Maryland, the best crab stuffings have about 95% crab meat content.  The other 5% of the stuffing's ingredients were aromatic vegetables, eggs and bread crumbs.  Second rate seafood restaurants offer a crab stuffing with less than 50% crab meat content or they sell crab flavored surimi as real crab.
     Since the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico occurred last year, many customers have stopped eating Gulf seafood.  The same thing has happened along the eastern seaboard too.  Spiny lobster from Florida?  I would think twice about purchasing them for a while.  The same goes for Gulf of Mexico blue crab.
     Spiny lobster tails are the best for stuffing.  The size of a spiny lobster seems to have no effect on the quality of the tail meat.  Spiny lobster from Australia or South America are good choices for a stuffed lobster tail.  Gulf of Mexico and lower east coast spiny lobster will return to being safe to eat sometime in the future.  I used an Australian spiny lobster tail to make this recipe.
     Only Maine lobster is a true lobster.  Maine lobster has very large claws and the meat has a very rich flavor.  Maine lobster tails are good for stuffing, but one Maine lobster grows to over 2 1/2 pounds, the tail meat can become tough and it does not always fill the tail shell.
     Rock lobster and African lobster are poor choices for stuffing.  African lobster are usually marketed by foreign fishing companies that show no respect for local African fishermen and lobster men.  Rock lobster is usually a frozen product and there is a high percentage of rock lobster tails that shows signs of molting or decomposition.
     Since Gulf of Mexico crab was out of the question at this time, and local Chicago seafood merchants did not have fresh live Chesapeake blue crab in stock, Alaskan King Crab was used to make the crab meat stuffing for this recipe.  The Alaskan fishery is superbly managed and king crab is very nice for making a stuffing.
     There is something about crab stuffed lobster that is very appealing for a special night or holiday.  This recipe is expensive to make at home and it is even more expensive to purchase at a good restaurant.  For a special treat or a special event, crab stuffed lobster is a nice choice!
     Crab Stuffing Recipe:
     Keep this proportion in mind when making a good crab stuffing.  95% Crab Meat!  The amount of stuffing needed depends on the size of the lobster tail.  Blue crab or king crab are best for a crab stuffing.  
     Shell about 3/4 cup to 1cup (4 to 5 ounces) of Alaskan king crab meat.  Be sure that there is absolutely no shell or cartilage in the crab meat.  Try to leave the large pieces of crab meat intact instead of breaking them up.
     Place the crab meat in a mixing bowl.
     Heat a saute pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil.
     Add 1 pat of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced mixed green bell pepper and red bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of finely minced smoked bacon.
     Saute the vegetables, till they become tender, but do not caramelize the vegetables.  The smoked bacon should not be cooked crisp.
     Add the vegetables and bacon to the crab meat in the mixing bowl.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped parsley.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 small pinch of tarragon.
     Add a very small amount of bread crumbs.  (About 1 to 2 tablespoons.  The proportion of 4% breadcrumbs to the total volume of crab meat should be enough.)
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Add 1/2 of a whisked raw egg.  (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 ounces of whisked egg is plenty.  It does not take much egg to hold a crab stuffing together.)
     Add 1 very small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of paprika.
     Gently fold the ingredients together and try not to break up the crab meat chunks.
     Set the crab stuffing aside.
     Crab Stuffed Lobster Recipe:
     Select an 8 ounce spiny lobster tail.  (Maine lobster tail can be substituted.
     Use a chef knife or kitchen shears to split the lobster tail open by cutting through the top half of the shell lengthwise.  You should partially cut through the raw lobster meat at the same time, so it becomes butterflied.  Do not cut through the bottom of the lobster shell.
     Remove the mud vein.
     Spread the lobster shell open and gently pull the lobster meat upward without detaching the meat from the fan of the tail.
     Close the shell under the meat.
     Lay the meat against the top of the shell, so it drapes evenly over the empty shell.
     Place the lobster tail on a baking pan.
     Fan the lobster tail, so it is fully opened.
     Mound a very generous amount of the crab stuffing on the lobster meat.  Gently press and shape the stuffing against the lobster meat.  (Do not firmly pack the crab stuffing.  You do not want the stuffing to become too dense.)
     Add a splash of water to the baking pan.
     Sprinkle a little bit of dry white wine over the stuffing and lobster.
     Squeeze a small amount of lemon juice over the stuffing and lobster.
     Drizzle a generous amount of melted unsalted butter over the stuffing and lobster.
     Sprinkle a very small amount of fine bread crumbs over the lobster stuffing.
     Sprinkle a very small amount of paprika over the stuffing.
     Bake the stuffed lobster in a 350º to 400º oven.
     Half way through the baking time, remove the stuffed lobster from the oven.
     Use a spoon to baste the lobster with the pan juices.
     Place the lobster back in the oven.
     Bake until the stuffing becomes piping hot and the lobster meat is fully cooked.  (The lobster and stuffing do not have to be cooked to a brown color!)
     Carefully use a spatula to set the stuffed lobster on a plate.
     Spoon some of the butter and pan juices from the lobster baking pan over the stuffed lobster.
     Serve with vegetables of your choice.  (The stuffed lobster in the pictures was served with buttered thyme carrots and boiled bliss potatoes.
     Garnish the plate with a parsley sprig and a decorative "winged" lemon half.

     The aroma and flavor of this stuffed lobster is so very nice!  The crab stuffing is very light because a minimal amount of bread crumbs were added.  The small amount of smoked bacon adds a subtle old fashioned east coast fish house flavor to the stuffing.  The lobster is tender and far from being dried out from over cooking.  The crab stuffing is a perfect match for the flavor of the lobster.  Delicious!  ...  Shawna


  1. Can the recipe be used for regular crabcakes?

    1. Yes, this crab stuffing recipe could be used for a crab cake recipe. Baltimore crab cakes are made with Blue Crab and they should be about 95% crab meat.

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