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When good friend Chef Rafael "Tibong" Jardeleza II of Iloilo was in Manila last month, we did a shoot of Ilonggo seafood dishes in his condo in Pasig for Flavors Magazine. Much to my utterly pleasant surprise, he brought in a whole lot of extra ingredients, and so he sent me home with quite a haul of frozen seafood, including lobsters! Since lobsters were a rare treat to me, I turned each lobster into something else. No two lobsters ended up the same. I made one for my blog, one for my next cookbook, another for a future project, and this one, of course, for Herword.com, which has become part of my life for the past three or four years. This one has its own unique appeal because it's baked and stuffed, and the crunch of the topping goes perfectly with the tenderness of the meat inside. The best thing about it is that it looks soooooo good, as well. It's actually easy to prepare, but it looks so chic and gourmet that it's sure to impress.
1 pc. fresh lobster, about 500-700 grams
2 tbsps. butter
1-1/2 tbsps. minced onion
1/2 pc. small potato, peeled, boiled and diced finely
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
imported seafood seasoning to taste*
1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice
1/2 to 2/3 cup panko or Japanese breadcrumbs
1. Cook lobster by boiling or steaming until done. Pick the meat and divide into two bowls. Finely chop the lobster meat in one bowl while remembering to simply rough-chop the lobster meat in the other bowl. Devein. Although the head and the body have been separated, keep the head intact for presentation, so with the body. Carefully split the body (leading down to the tail) down the center by using a sharp knife or by cutting with kitchen shears.
2. Prepare the stuffing. Sauté onion in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in diced potatoes and chopped parsley. Season with seafood seasoning (*any brand, or use a combination of shrimp powder and chicken powder) to taste. Squeeze in just enough lemon or lime juice to bring out the natural flavors of the ingredients combined. Turn off heat and stir in finely chopped lobster meat.
3. Assemble your stuffed lobster. Scoop the rough-chopped lobster meat carefully back into the shell. Spoon the crunchy stuffing over the lobster, and gently press down to make them fill the gaps and adhere together. Chill in refrigerator to let stuffing set while preheating oven to 400°F.
4. Bake stuffed lobster for about 20 minutes or until top turns golden brown but not burnt.
Dolly T. Dy-Zulueta is editor of Flavors Magazine. She graduated from a certificate course in culinary and baking skills at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS). Aside from this course, she has taken several cooking classes in several cooking schools.