Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce

Served at the luncheon for the inauguration of the president of the Untied States in 2012, Executive Chef Shannon Shaffer utilized sustainable, artisanal ingredients for a true sea-to-fork meal, New England-style. Give this recipe for steamed lobster with New England clam chowder a decided Florida twist by using those fresh caught Florida lobster tails.


Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce

   Serves 4

Steamed Lobster with New England Clam Chowder Sauce - luncheon for the Inauguration of the President of the Untied States - Photo by Brendan Hoffman


Lobster Tails

  • 4 each lobster tails, 4 oz.
  • 1/4 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine
  • 3 each star anise
  • 2 cups mirepoix, (medium, 1/4 inch dice of carrot, celery, onion and leek)
  • 1 each large bowl of ice water


  1. Combine all ingredients (except lobster) in an 8-quart pot and bring to a boil. 
  2. Place lobster tails in a another 8-quart pot, carefully pour boiling liquid over lobster tails and allow to steam for approximately 6 minutes.
  3. Remove tails from liquid and place in ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process. Remove tails from ice and begin to remove lobster meat from the shell.
  4. Cut each lobster tail into 6 large pieces, place in oven-safe dish, add 2 tablespoons of water to dish and cover with lid or foil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Reheat lobster at time of service by placing it in a 170º F oven for approximately 15 minutes.

New England Clam Chowder Sauce

  • 20 each little neck clams, rinsed in cold water
  • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups clam juice, canned
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup carrot, small dice
  • 1 cup celery, small dice
  • 1 cup Yukon gold potato, small dice, peeled
  • 1 cup leek, small dice
  • 1/2 cup onion, small dice
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup tarragon, chop at the last minute


  1. Combine shallot, garlic, white wine and fish stock in a bowl.
  2. Place a large heavy bottom pot on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Carefully place clams in bottom of pot. Pour shallot liquid over clams quickly and cover with lid. The clams will begin to open after a few minutes.
  4. Once clams are opened, remove the pot from the heat and place clams in a bowl to cool (keep shallot liquid).
  5. Remove clams from shells and rough chop (these will be added to sauce at the last minute).
  6. Strain the shallot liquid and place into a clean sauce pot on medium heat to reduce by half (roughly 1 quart).
  7. In a separate sauce pot, sauté the diced vegetable in the canola oil with a pinch of salt and pepper for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
  8. Add the clam liquid and heavy cream to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and allow sauce to reduce until your desired consistency and the vegetables are tender. The sauce should coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  9. Add chopped clams and chopped tarragon to the sauce.

Sautéed Spinach

  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch cracked black pepper


  1. Preheat a large heavy bottom sauté pan on high heat.
  2. Sauté shallot in oil until tender.
  3. Add the baby spinach and season with salt and pepper cooking only until spinach leaves are wilted. Remove from pan and hold warm.

Sweet Potato Hay

  • 1 each sweet potato, peeled, sliced thin, cut fine strips, place in cold water
  • 1 quart canola oil, for frying


  1. Heat oil to 350º F in a 1 gallon heavy bottom pot. 
  2. Drain sweet potato and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Carefully drop a small handful of sweet potato strings in the fryer and allow to crisp and turn golden brown. Remove with a strainer and place on clean paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Photography by Brendan Hoffman.

Recipes courtesy of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

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