Every Christmas Beth Larsen of the Net Result makes her special baked lobster dish. And every year, more friends and Net Result customers seem to try to get the recipe from her. In lieu of handing out the secret, she’d end up making several dozen baked lobsters each Christmas for people asking. She didn’t really want to brag about this dish, because Beth, as we know, is not exactly looking for more work.
Now that the business has been sold, Beth tells us she is willing to share — well, if not the recipe itself, at least enough for you to work with.
We know it’s almost summer, but we thought we’d hop on this opportunity. And lobster’s good any time of year, right?
But back to the story of the secret Christmas lobster. Beth’s parents, Dixon and Jacquie Renear, loved eating a specially baked lobster at Munro’s Boston House Restaurant on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. For those of you who are too young to remember, Munro’s Boston House was a restaurant from the late ’40s until the early ’80s, located where Ryan Family Amusements is now.
Beth’s father was so obsessed with this baked lobster that the owner allowed him to hang out in the kitchen to see how it was made. Each Christmas after that, Beth’s father made the lobster.
It so happened that Beth grew up to marry Louis Larsen, a fisherman and fishmonger. But we all know that. The Christmas lobster became a Larsen family tradition. And like any good recipe, Beth and Louis adapted and made their own version, and eventually even developed a deluxe version. More on that in a bit.
Here’s how to make it. To start, Beth makes what she calls a cream sauce, what we might call a béchamel sauce — creamy, but not made with cream. Instead, it is made with flour, and butter roux for thickening, then milk and seasoning. Beth adds some garlic as well. Make this first and set it aside.
The next step is to steam or boil your lobsters. Beth likes 1½- to 1¾-pound lobsters. Be sure to undercook a bit, because you will bake them later. Put them in the fridge to cool enough to handle. When they’re cool, remove the legs and leg meat, and set them aside. Beth says if the lobster claws are small, you may want to cook an extra lobster for more filling.
She then splits the body with a knife — not completely in half, but leaving the tail intact and attached to the body. In the split lobster body, Beth says, you will have choices to make: Remove or keep the liver, and the roe (if it’s female).
The liver, also called tomalley, will be pale green when cooked; many people eat it. If your lobster is female there will be roe (eggs). When the lobster is undercooked, it may appear dark green or black; when totally cooked it will be red.
Stuff the split bodies with lobster claw meat. Cover with cream sauce. Top with seasoned bread crumbs. Beth likes seasoned panko or finely crushed Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix.
Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes.
For a deluxe, over-the-top version, Beth adds some sautéed shrimp and bay scallops to the lobster stuffing.