JFK’S LOBSTER STEW (for six)
This recipe, from Boston’s Locke-Ober Restaurant, was such a favorite of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy that owner and chef, Lydia Shire, named it after him.
6 (1 pound) live Maine lobsters, rinsed
14 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup medium dry or cream sherry
6 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 to 2 pinches paprika
freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
leaves from 2 sprigs parsley, cut into thin strips
1. Plunge lobsters into a large pot of boiling salted water over high heart and boil until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer lobsters to a large bowl of ice water to prevent them from cooking further, and keep them submerged until completely cool. Drain lobsters; separate tails and claws from bodies, setting bodies aside. Crack shells and remove meat from tails and claws, reserving the tail shells. Cut lobster meat into large pieces and set aside in the refrigerator.
2. Melt 8 tablespoons of the butter in a large, wide, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the lobster bodies and tail shells and cook, turning often, until the shells turn deep red, 5 to 8 minutes. Add sherry and boil for 2 minutes, then add milk and cream and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until milk and cream reduce by one quarter and thicken slightly, 20 to 25 minutes. Add cayenne and paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove pot from heat and set milk infusion aside to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The following day, strain milk infusion into another medium pot, discarding solids, and bring just to a simmer over medium heat.
3. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add lobster meat and heat until warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes, then add to milk infusion in pot. Add the lemon juice and adjust seasonings. Divide stew between 6 warm bowls, add some of the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to each bowl, and garnish with parsley.
from Lydia Shire, chef at the Locke-Ober Restaurant, the fourth oldest restaurant in Boston (after the Union Oyster House, Durgin Park and the Jacob Wirth Restaurant), opened in 1875 and closed in 2012