Seafood Boil with Lobsters and Mussels

Total Time:
1 hr 50 min
1 hr
50 min

6 servings

  • For the herb butter:
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups mixed fresh herbs (such as basil, parsley, tarragon and chives)
  • For the seafood boil:
  • 1/3 cup coarse salt (preferably sea salt)
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 large white onions, halved (do not peel)
  • 6 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 4 heads garlic, halved crosswise (do not peel)
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 pounds small red-skinned potatoes
  • 6 ears of corn, husked and halved
  • 3 live lobsters (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • Make the herb butter: Pulse the butter and herbs in a food processor until well combined. Form into a log on a sheet of parchment paper, wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

  • Prepare the seafood boil: Combine the salt, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, peppercorns, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, thyme, onions, celery, tomatoes, lemons and garlic in a large deep pot; add 6 quarts water. Cover and bring to a boil; uncover and cook 10 minutes. Add the wine and potatoes and return to a simmer; cook until the potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes. Add the corn and boil until tender, about 8 more minutes.

  • Meanwhile, cut each lobster in half with a chef's knife, starting at the cross mark on the back of the head (the lobster may continue to move for a minute). Remove the green tomalley and roe, if desired.

  • Remove the corn and potatoes from the pot using a slotted spoon and transfer to a platter (it's OK if you remove some of the broth ingredients, too); cover with foil to keep warm. Add the lobsters to the pot and cook until the shells turn pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mussels, pushing them down into the broth. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Transfer the lobsters and mussels to a platter. (Discard any mussels that do not open.)

  • Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Slice the herb butter. Pour the broth into bowls; add the vegetables, seafood and some of the herb butter.

  • Photograph by Con Poulos

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    This recipe is featured in:

    Summer Entertaining Guide