Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

How To Cook and Open A Lobster


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Today was a really fun day! Tonya, a good friend of mine, went with to shop for seafood. I think she was somewhat surprised to see me stick my hand right into the lobster tank.

This is one of those posts that may not be easy for everyone to read.  Most all shellfish, should be alive before cooking.  This makes it really hard for a lot of people to handle. BEING HUMANE IS KEY!

I’ve worked for many years cooking and handling lobsters, blue crab, shrimp, mussels, and clams. The fresher the seafood, the better the finished dish is going to be.

The Lobster Institute has come up with a study. The study reads… lobsters, like insects, do not have complex brains that allow them to process pain like humans other animals do. They have compared it to when you kill a mosquito. Cooking a lobster, in the practical sennse, is like killing a big bug.

Let’s get back to cooking and opening a lobster. Once I bring the lobster(s) home, I make sure they are kept in the bag with some crushed ice. You want to cook them as soon as possible. Before placing them into the pot of boiling water, I put them to sleep. This is something I learned when I worked at a seafood restaurant.

Place the lobster face (head) down on a counter, tail end in the air. Cross their arms and claws, then rub the back side of their shell, in an up and down motion. In about 45 seconds, their legs and antenna will stop moving. The lobster will then be asleep.  Balancing on their heads, by themselves on the counter. If you want to see how this is done,  just google “How to put a lobster to sleep”, and there are videos available.

I make sure that the water is salted, with sprigs of fresh tarragon, and at a hard boil. Next,  I place the sleeping lobster, head first, immediately  into the boiling water. You’ll notice that the lobster is not totally submerged. I prefer to let steam and water cook the lobster. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot. Using a dish towel, I hold on to the lid for a about 10 seconds before letting go.

Below is a peek to show you how I do this.

In a very large stock pot I place water and tarragon into water. On high heat, I bring the water up to a hard boil. I place the sleeping lobster into the boiling water then place the lid on, holding it with a towel for around 10 seconds.

Once cooked, I lift the lobster up using large tongs to release any excess water the lobster may hold, back into the pot. Next, I place the lobster into a large plastic container to cool before removing the meat.

Once cooled, first I take off the rubber bands from the claws. I remove the arms with the claws. Next, I twist off the tail to release from the body, also known as the thorax. I discard the thorax.

There are two ways to remove the meat from the tail. First is to bend, in a backwards direction. Now the very end of the tail meat is showing. Use a pair of scissors and cut down the inner side of the tail to release the meat. The other way is to squeeze to tail together until you hear the back side snap. Turn the tail over, where the underbelly is facing in the upwards direction. Using two hands, split the tail open.

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There is a piece of that needs to be removed on the outer side of the tail meat. It’s really a bit fibrous, just discard. You can see above, the indention it leaves on the backside of the tail meat. The tail is now clean and done. Next, the claws.

This is where a good pair of lobster cracker comes in. Even a meat mallet comes in handy. One of the claws in larger and harder to crack than the other one. You may need some help with that one, that’s why I mention the meat mallet. Lay a towel over the larger claw and hit it one time. That should put a crack into the claw and make it easier to remove the meat in one piece. When using the crackers, be careful not to crack the meat, just the shell. The is insure the meat will come out in one piece. For the arms, they can be a bit tricky. They have knuckles and meat can get caught in them. If you don’t have a lobster pick, you can use a large skewer to help get that meat out.

How’s this for a finished dish! Great to take to parties.  For this recipe, type in key words Shrimp Scampi, into the search bar, at the top right corner, of my home page. My recipe will pop up. The only change is that I incorporated cooked lobster to the dish.

Lobster And Shrimp Scampi Over Linguine (1)

Large stock pot with lid (8 to 16 quart pot)
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes per pound (Cooked lobster should be vibrant red in color)
Prep Time:
Allow for time to put lobster to sleep as explained above. 5-7 minutes to bring water to a hard boil.

1 live 2 pound lobster
1-1/2 quarts of water
2 heaping tablespoons of Kosher salt
3 sprigs of fresh tarragon.

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Walnut And Mint-Crusted Pan Seared Salmon Over An Arugula-Mint Salad With A Blood Orange Vinaigrette.

Walnut And Mint-Crusted Pan Seared Salmon (3)

Walnut And Mint-Crusted Pan Seared Salmon (4)

Walnut And Mint-Crusted Pan Seared Salmon (2)

I wanted to challenge myself to making dishes using all of my herbs from my gardens. My first was the “Mint Challenge”. I made a trip to the Farmers’ Market to get some inspiration for my dish using mint. I found a beautiful display of blood oranges. I knew that I had to bring a few of those home.


Blood Oranges

Blood Orange

Blood oranges originated in Sicily and Spain. They are grown in Calabria. Their juice resembles that of a ruby. Blood oranges are truly one of natures natural wonders. There are three components to this dish, the marinate, the salmon, and the salad dressing.  All three of these will include fresh mint.  What’s really great about this dish is everything can be prepared in advance. All then you’d have to do is cook off the salmon and serve.

I’m starting with the marinate.

Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 2 servings
Tip: Prepare the salad, dressing, and salmon topping while the salmon is marinating.

Ingredients For Marinate:
1 quart size zip lock plastic bag
1 grated garlic clove
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 blood orange juiced ( substitute regular orange is fine)
2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon Agave nectar
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoon of minced mint leaves
1/4 cup of olive oil

Place all the ingredients above into a quart size baggie. Place the 2-6 ounce center cut fillets into the bag. Remove all the air. Massage the salmon so both side of the fish are coated. Place the baggie onto a plate and place into the frig for 1 hour.

Walnut and Mint Topping For Salmon:
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
zest of 1 Blood orange ( substitute regular orange is fine)
2 tablespoons of minced mint leaves

Place all the above ingredients, for the topping, into a bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.

Ingredients For Salad And Dressing:
4 cups of Arugula (2 cups per serving)
1/4 cup of roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 red onion thinly sliced ( in half moons)
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
2 segmented Blood oranges
1/4 cup of thawed frozen peas

Ingredients For Blood Orange Dressing:
1 jelly jar to store dressing
Juice of 1 Blood orange ( regular orange is fine)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup E.V.O.O.

Directions For Salad:
On two serving plates, (seen in pictures above) place 2 cups of arugula leaves on each plate. Divide onion slices evenly and distribute them over the arugula. Same with the peas, dried cranberries, chopped mint, and orange segments.  Place the two prepared salads in the frig until your ready to plate the salmon.

In a measuring cup place all the ingredients above into a measuring cup. Add the extra virgin olive oil last. Whisk together really well. Transfer to a jelly jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well before using.

Directions For Salmon:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set the saute pan to medium heat. Let the pan come up to temperature. Take the salmon out of the baggie. Shake off all excess marinate. Place the salmon fillets into the hot saute pan. Sear the salmon for about 2 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another 6-8 minutes. Place the hot salmon fillet onto the chilled salad. Carefully spoon the walnut and mint topping onto the top of the salmon fillet. Shake the dressing jar really well and spoon the Blood orange dressing over the salmon and salad. Serve immediately.




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Lobster Mac And Cheese


I’m pretty confident in saying, Mac and Cheese is a favorite comfort food for people of all ages. There are so many recipes out there from the classic version to endless variations of the classic. Chorizo and smoked Gouda, or how about butternut squash mac and cheese! The one I like to serve, when having guests over, is my Lobster Mac And Cheese. The lobster adds the elegant factor, complimented by the variety of cheeses that go into my recipe. Let me show you how I make my Lobster Mac And Cheese.


16 quart stock pot, 9 x 13 casserole dish
yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

4 cups of lobster meat, large dice (approx. 3  1-1/2 lb lobsters)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
4 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup of corn
1 cup of Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup of Brie cheese, without the rind
2 cups of shredded Fontina cheese ( reserve 1 cup for the top)
3 tablespoon of freshly finely chopped chives
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped tarragon
2-16 ounce packages of cooked just under al-dente Paccheri Rigati ( large rigatoni shaped pasta)
4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Butter casserole dish.
For 1-1/2 pound lobsters, cook time is 15-20 minutes. Note: They need to be a vibrant red color when fully cooked.

To cook lobsters, bring a 16 quart pot ( a little of half filled with water) of well salted water up to a rapid  boil. Drop the lobster into the pot, carefully, and place the lid on. Once water comes back up to a boil, start the cooking time. Once cooked ( after a least 15 minutes), remove the lobsters from the pot and set aside to cool.

Boil 16 ounces of pasta just before the al dente stage, and drain. the pasta will finish cooking during the baking process.

Remove the lobster meat from the tail and claws. Chop the lobster meat into large chunks and place into a bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Next, to make the cheese sauce, melt the butter whisk in the flour in a large saucepan. Cook for 1 minute over medium, heat. Slowly add in the whole milk. Sprinkle in the Kosher salt, and black pepper, continuously whisking until sauce becomes thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped tarragon,  finely chopped chives, cheeses, and corn. Last, add in the cooked lobster meat. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Add the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce stirring gently not to break up the pasta. Pour the entire mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the reserved Fontina cheese evenly over the top.

For the crumb topping, add the melted butter to the Panko bread crumbs. Mix in  the Italian flat leaf parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.


Baked Cod With A Tomatoes, Fennel, And Capers

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This delicious and healthy dish is a favorite in my house. Cod is a light white flaky fish that absorbs whatever flavors you may add.

2016-06-09 17.05.52

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Temp: 375 degrees F.
Cook time: 15-18  minutes

4-6 ounce cod fillets
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 pints of halved yellow and red grape tomatoes
1 diced fennel bulb
1 medium diced onion
1 seeded and minced Fresno chiili
3 sliced garlic cloves
1/4 cup of drained capers
1 tablespoon of Pernod
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil leaves
1-1/2 lemons ( 1 sliced and 1/2 juiced over the fish)
finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish

First, prep all the vegetables for the dish. Once prepped, add olive oil to saute pan on medium heat. Add all the veggies, minced Fresno chili, and minced garlic to the pan. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Saute everything for about 5-7 minutes. As the veggies start breaking down and soften, add in the white wine. Bring this up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the tomato and fennel mixture until wine has reduced and sauce starts to come together.This should take another 7-10 minutes. At this point, add in the drained capers. Keep the pan on the burner with the heat turned off.

In a 11 x 8 baking dish, add the Pernod to the bottom of the dish. Add in the sauteed tomatoes and fennel mixture. Sprinkle each of the 4 cod fillets with Kosher salt and pepper. Place the fillets on top of the of the tomato and fennel sauce. Spoon a little of the sauce over the top of each fillet.

In a preheated 375 degree oven, place the dish in the oven and bake for around 15-18 minutes or until the cod is tender and flaky.  Remove from the oven add squeeze fresh lemon juice over all the fish. Add sliced lemons. Sprinkle over the whole dish with chopped fresh basil leaves, and the Italian flat leaf parsley.

To serve, ladle the tomato, fennel, and caper sauce on the bottom of the dish. Using a spatula, transfer one of the fillets on top of the sauce, and spoon a generous amount of the sauce over the top of the baked cod. Garnish with a lemon slice.


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