New York City-based chef Marc Murphy of Ditch Plains is known for the seafood at his West Village fish shack. Here, he runs down how to make three lobster recipes perfect for summer: lobster rolls, lobster-stuffed twice-baked potatoes, and a spicy lobster spaghetti.
DITCH PLAINS LOBSTER ROLL
These lobster rolls are my simultaneous ode to New England and France. When we opened Ditch Plains, we wanted to put lobster rolls on the menu because what’s a fish shack without a good lobster roll, especially in the summer? I’m a big fan of Maine-style lobster rolls — served cold, with just enough mayo to bind the meat — and I wanted to add a French twist on it with some tarragon and a touch of mustard. I liked my version of the roll so much that it’s become my all-time favorite, no disrespect to the classic version.
4 1¼ to 1½-pound lobsters, or 2 pounds cooked lobster meat2 cups dry white wine3 celery ribs, roughly chopped, plus 1 cup finely diced celery1 lemon, halved1 onion, halved¾ cup mayonnaise⅓ cup thinly sliced scallions¼ cup Dijon mustard1 tablespoon garlic confit1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoningKosher saltFreshly ground black pepper2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter4 potato hot dog bunsPotato chips, for serving
If using whole lobsters: Place the lobsters in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes (this puts the lobsters to sleep and calms them down). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil with the wine, chopped celery ribs, lemon, and onion.
Working with one lobster at a time, in one decisive motion, plunge a chef’s knife into and all the way through the lobster’s head (so the head is halved). Break down the lobster by removing the claws and the tail. Repeat with the remaining lobsters.
Add the claws and tails to the boiling water. The claws will cook in 6 to 7 minutes, and the tails will take 9 to 10 minutes. Remove the lobster pieces from the boiling water as they are done and transfer to the ice bath to stop the cooking process and cool. Once cool, crack the claws and tails and remove the meat. Quarter the tail meat lengthwise and chop it. Chop the claw meat into pieces the same size as the tail meat.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped lobster meat with the mayonnaise, diced celery, scallions, mustard, garlic, tarragon, and parsley, and mix until incorporated. Season with the Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
Heat a grill or preheat a grill pan over medium heat.
Right before serving, in a small pot, melt the butter over low heat. Brush the inside of the hot dog buns with the melted butter and place them on the grill, buttered side down. Grill the buns until well marked, 3 to 4 minutes. Divide them among four plates and divide the lobster filling evenly. Serve immediately with some potato chips on the side
TWICE-BAKED LOBSTER-STUFFED POTATOES
My favorite thing about the Super Bowl isn't the game itself — or even the commercials. I might lose a few points with guys, but I think the best thing about the Super Bowl is the food. It's actually the reason I throw a Super Bowl Party every year.
One of my all-time favorite game-time things to eat are these lobster-stuffed potatoes. If you cook the lobsters in advance, these potatoes are a cinch to put together. I recommend making a few more than you think you need because I guarantee your guests will want seconds — and maybe even thirds. If you ever do wind up with leftovers, tuck them into a frittata for breakfast the next morning.
2 (1 ½- pound) female lobsters
Kosher salt6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened6 to 8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (2 ½ to 3 pounds), scrubbed and dried1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary¼ cup finely chopped scallions, plus more for garnish1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream, plus more for garnish1 cup (about 3 ¾ ounces), shredded Gruyère1 to 2 tablespoons heavy creamFreshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F; position the rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the lobsters in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes - this will put the lobsters to sleep and calm them down so they're not so acrobatic when you try to finish them off. Fill a large pot with water and add enough salt so the water tastes like seawater, and bring to a boil. Fill a very large bowl with ice and water.
Working with one lobster at a time, in on decisive motion, plunge a chef's knife into and all the way through the lobster's head (so the head is halved). Break down the lobster by removing the claws and the tail. Crack open the carcass, and you will find green lobster roe. Set the roe aside. Repeat with the other lobster. Discard the lobster carcasses or save them to make lobster stock later.
Add the lobster tails to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes; add in the claws and cook for an additional 6 to 7 minutes; the tails will take 9 to 10 minutes. Remove the lobster from the boiling water and set aside. Once cool, crack the claws and tails and remove the meat. Quarter the tails lengthwise and chop. Cut the claw meat in half and chop it into pieces the same size as the tail meat.
In a small bowl or a mini food processor, combine the reserved lobster roe and 4 tablespoons of the butter and mix together or pulse until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Poke holes in the potatoes, place them on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until just soft. You can bake the potatoes while you prepare the lobsters. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly; leave the oven on. Cut off the tops of the potatoes and discard. Carefully, without breaking the skin, scoop the potato flesh into a bowl. Mash the potatoes and set aside.
In a small sauté pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and cook until the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and turn hazelnut brown and the butter starts to smell nutty, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rosemary and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the scallions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the rosemary-scallion butter to the bowl with the mashed potatoes and add the crème fraîche, ¾ cup of the Gruyère, the lobster meat, and the lobster butter. Mix until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream and mix until incorporated. Add more heavy cream if needed to achieve the desired consistency, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the potato-lobster mixture into the potato shells and place them in a baking pan. Sprinkle the potatoes with the remaining cheese and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are hot and bubbling. Top with extra crème fraîche and scallions, and serve.
TIP: Ask your fishmonger to sell you female lobsters - you'll need the roe for this dish but if for some reason, you get male lobsters, just proceed with the recipe as is, minus the lobster roe — it will still be great.
SPICY LOBSTER SPAGHETTI
1 pound spaghetti
6 tablespoons olive oil2 shallots, finely chopped3 garlic cloves, finely chopped1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped (plus extra for garnish)1 teaspoon dried chili flakes1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved10-12 oz. lobster stock (recipe below)2 ½ cups fresh picked lobster meat¼ pound lobster roe butter (recipe below)Kosher saltFreshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook about 8-10 minutes, making sure to keep it al dente. Once cooked, drain the spaghetti, reserving a little of the cooking water, and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the shallots, garlic, rosemary and dried chili flakes. Cook for two minutes over medium heat. Add the chopped lobster meat and tomatoes and heat through for another two minutes.
Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then add the spaghetti and a couple of ladles of the lobster stock (you want enough to wet the pasta all may not be needed) Toss together.
Once the stock reduces a little (about 1-2 minutes) over high heat. Add the lobster roe butter allowing it to reduce and for the sauce to come together, this should take a couple minutes. Add to bowls and garnish with rosemary.
Keeps refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 6 months
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
Shells and legs from two 1 ½-pound lobsters, cut into 2-inch pieces2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed1 bay leaf5-6 sprigs fresh thymeA dash of hot pepper flakes2 cups dry white wine1 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoesKosher saltFreshly ground pepper
Film a large sauté pan (14-inch) with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the lobster shells, onions, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and hot pepper. Sauté, stirring often, 6-8 minutes, until the onions are softened and the lobster shells are fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium if the onions begin to brown.
Add the wine and tomatoes with their juices, and return to a simmer. Cook another 5 minutes, and then add enough cold water to cover the shells. Return to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to gently simmer another 30-40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
When slightly cooled, pour the broth through a fine strainer. Let it cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.
LOBSTER ROE COMPOUND BUTTER
¼ cup Fresh lobster roe
½ lb. Unsalted butter (room temperature and cut into small cubes)
Combine the roe and butter in a food processor. (Whisking briskly by hand also works)
Don't run the processor to long at a stretch or it will heat the butter. If the engine starts running hot, stop processing and let it cool down before continuing. (This process should take about 2 minutes).
Pile the butter in the center of a large sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the wrap over gently to form a tube. Hold the ends and roll the center to tighten into a tube.
Move the tube to the freezer to harden. You can also freeze the butter wrapped this way for long-term storage.
Melt the butter in a frying pan as a base for sauces or to toss with just-cooked pasta.