They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach—but the same can be said for women when you’re Freddie Prinze Jr.
“I actually once made lobster with sauce that changed an actress completely,” he says. “She fell in love with me to the point that it was creepy.”
While Prinze Jr. doesn’t reveal the identity of said actress, he does share the romantic seafood dish in his cookbook Back to the Kitchen—and luckily, with PEOPLE below. “It was too dangerous to keep to myself,” he says.
His lobster isn’t the only recipe that makes women—mainly his wife, actress Sarah Michelle Geller—swoon: “The nicer one is that I made a New Mexico chile-spiced chicken dish for my wife when she was pregnant,” he says, “because the doctor recommended more spice in her diet.”
But when he’s not using his food for romance or cooking for his family “3 to 5 nights a week,” Prinze Jr. also uses his skills in the kitchen to bring people together.
“I love cooking for people,” he says. “Restaurants are great, but when we’re in our own living room, we can have Michael Jackson and Prince playing in the background. The last time I had people over recently, I made Brussels sprouts chips with Parmesan cheese and let everyone munch on that while I finished cooking dinner. At one point, every parent in the room discussed losing their virginity to a Prince song—at a drive-in theater, at a cabin on Lake Minnetonka.”
Freddie Prinze Jr.’s San Juan–Style Fried Lobster
2 cups canola oil
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. New Mexico red chile powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 small lobster tails, cut into bite-size pieces
4 large eggs, beaten
1 lemon, quartered
1. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat to about 350°F, or until it shimmers.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, chile powder, salt, and black pepper and mix well.
3. Working one at a time, dip the pieces of lobster tail into the beaten egg, then dredge them in the flour mixture so that they’re fully covered, and then place them into the hot oil. Let them fry for about 5 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. When are they done? When they’re Golden Brown Delicious (GBD), that’s when.
4. Instruct your guests to squeeze the lemon over their lobster and enjoy immediately.
—Ana Calderone, @anacalderone