Seafood Boil with Lobsters and Mussels

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Cook: 50 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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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)

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.