You can't tell the culinary history of Boston without seafood — or without legendary local chef Jody Adams. This month for “ You & Julia,” we visited Porto in Copley Square to watch Adams make Julia's Homard Gratiné Au Fromage. Jody honors the original recipe and adds her own twist, like substituting the sauce's Swiss cheese with miso and seaweed. She also enhances her broth with star anise, turmeric, ginger, lemon grass and garlic.

Here's her take on the classic stuffed lobster recipe.

A stuffed lobster covered with french fries sits in a red pan.
Jody Adams' Homard Gratiné Au Miso
Meghan Smith

Jody Adams' Homard Gratiné Au Miso

The crumbs


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Panko crumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped tarragon

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat with the shallots and garlic and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the breadcrumbs and cook until completely coated with butter. (No need to toast the breadcrumbs as they will get toasty in the oven.) Season with salt and pepper and stir in the remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Steaming the lobsters


  • A large fish kettle or steamer
  • 2 cups dry white vermouth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh turmeric
  • 1 1/4 cup thinly sliced lemon grass
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 4 live lobsters, 11/4 lbs. each

Put all the ingredients, except the lobsters, into a large fish kettle or steamer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Set the rack in the pot.

Bring the liquid to a rapid boil, add lobsters, cover tightly, and steam for 8 to 10 minutes or until the lobsters' head antennae can be pulled easily from sockets.

When lobsters are done, remove them from the pot. Line the lobsters on the counter and place a weight on the tails so they will flatten while cooling. (A small cutting board over the tails with several heavy cans will do.) Boil the cooking liquid until it has reduced to 2 cups. Strain.

The sauce


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • A 3-cup enameled saucepan
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ounce dulse seaweed, chopped into 1 inch pieces and reconstituted in water

Melt butter in saucepan, blend in flour, and cook slowly for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat, and let cool for a moment. Whisk in a cupful of the hot lobster-cooking liquid. Add in the rest of the liquid in a steady stream while whisking. Bring to a boil, stirring, for 1 minute. It should be quite thick. Whisk in the heavy cream until sauce coats a spoon nicely. Whisk in the miso and correct seasonings. Stir in the dulse. Set aside.

Browning in the oven and assembling the lobsters


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut off claws, with knuckles attached, and the legs. Remove the claw, knuckle and leg meat and discard the shells. Use kitchen sheers to cut the knuckle shells to expose the meat. You can get the leg meat out of the shells by running a rolling pin over them.

Turn lobster on their backs and, being careful to keep chest and tail sections attached, use kitchen shears to cut out the under side shell of the chest and head, where the legs were, and remove the contents--green matter, the sand sack at head and any fibrous remains. The curved red shell should be empty.

Cut down the inside edges of the tail and snip at the bottom to remove the under side of the tail shell to expose the tail meat. Taking care to continue to keep the chest and tail sections attached, remove the tail meat. Slit it up the back so that you can take out and discard the intestinal vein. Cut tail meat crosswise into 1/4 – inch slices. Spoon a bit of sauce in the tail and chest cavities. Carefully replace the tail meat by fanning it down the length of the tail shell.

Arrange the claw and knuckle meat in the chest cavity. Arrange the lobsters in four individual or one large gratin dish. Spoon the sauce over the lobsters and then sprinkle crumbs over all the meat.

Set in the upper third of a preheated 425-degree oven until lobsters are bubbling hot and breadcrumb topping has browned.

Serve with watercress, shoestring potatoes, and a chilled, dry white wine such as a Burgundy.

Serves 4 people, 1 lobster each