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I have always been a lobster traditionalist.
There are few things better in life than a feed of boiled lobster served with drawn butter and homemade potato salad. Now on occasion, when glamming it up, I’ve been known to grill or even poach lobster in butter. Thanks to Fox Harb’r executive chef Shane Robilliard, I’ve been introduced to the pleasures of preparing lobster sous vide. Until recently, I’ve only thought of sous vide as a method of cooking meat, but the principles are applicable to a wide range of proteins so why not lobster?
Chef five tips for perfectly cooked lobster
Your lobster should be lively. This is a sign of freshness.
Carefully remove elastic bands before cooking as otherwise your lobster may have a plastic-like taste.
Make sure to heavily salt the water you blanch or boil your water in. It should taste like the ocean.
If boiling your lobster, remember not to overcook it as the lobster will become tough. A 1-pound lobster will take 9 to 10 minutes and 1 1/2-pound lobster about 12 minutes. Adjust accordingly for different sized lobsters.
I believe the best way to cook lobster is to blanch it for 5 minutes. Remove the meat from the shell and sous vide the lobster for 12 minutes. It guarantees a perfectly cooked lobster.
Shane Robilliard’s Sous Vide Lobster
- 1-1/2 lb lobster
- 1 tbsp butter
- Pinch salt
- Pinch white pepper, freshly cracked
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs, finely chopped
- 1/4 lemon, zest, juice
- Splash white wine
Fill a large pot with heavily salted water. Bring to a boil. Remove rubber bands from lobster and place in water. Place lobster in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Remove and set on a cutting board. Pull off the two claws. Pull out the tail. Split the tail in half with a heavy knife and pull out tail meat. Reserve the shell. Break apart the claws and crack end of claws with a heavy knife. You should be able to pull the claw meat right out. Use a lobster cracker or chef’s knife to break open the shell around the knuckle. Remove that meat and place with the rest of your meat. You may need to use a lobster pick to help extract the meat. Fill a large pot or other container with water. Insert your sous vide cooker (go canadiantire.ca to purchase your own) to 135 C. Place the lobster meat into a standard bag. Add butter, mixed herbs, salt, white pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and white wine in bag with the lobster. Press out as much air from the bag, then seal. Fully submerge your bag in the water. Sous vide for 12 minutes. Remove the meat from the bag and your lobster is ready to eat or add to pasta or risotto.
Pro tip: whenever taking the claw meat out of the shell make sure to discard the tough cartilage (watch our video for a demonstration).
Lobster & Pea Risotto
- 4 servings
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup local white wine
- 1-1/2 lb lobster, meat chopped, shells reserved
- 1 cup fresh peas, steamed
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, or other hard cheese
Directions: Warm stock over medium heat. Place a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and butter. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon, to ensure all the rice is covered in olive oil and butter. Add the wine. When the wine has evaporated add the warm stock a ladle or two at a time until absorbed. When the stock is almost fully incorporated add the lobster, peas, and Parmesan. Stir to combine. Serve warm.
Five drinks to pair with Lobster Risotto:
Nova Scotia Chardonnay
Lobster demands a white wine with a little body and richness. While our Chardonnay veer to the medium-bodied side of the spectrum, producers such as Lightfoot & Wolfville coax texture out of the wines through barrel fermentation and aging. Their Ancienne Chardonnay is a local legend.
Lightfoot & Wolfville Ancienne Chardonnay (Lightfoot & Wolfville, Select NSLC)
Tidal Bay is the ideal regional match for the lobster and Northern Italian Soave is the classic match to the risotto itself. When purchasing Soave, be sure to get those identified as ‘Classico’ as this means they are made from grapes grown in the best, most traditional area for making Soave. Even better, pick one that says Classico Superiore. The Superiore tag ensures the grapes achieved a high level of ripeness in the vineyard. My personal favourite is Pieropan.
Pieropan Soave Classico (Select NSLC)
The lemon and orange peel fresh flavours of German-inspired Weizen and Belgian-inspired Wit makes a great pairing with seafood. Uncle Leo’s from Pictou offers a delicious version called Voh Weizenbier.
Uncle Leo’s Voh Weizenbier (Uncle Leo’s)
While Shelburne’s Boxing Rock is an ale specialist, their Wild Axe Lager is on target as a pairing for lobster.
Boxing Rock Wild Axe Lager (Boxing Rock, Select NSLC)
If bright, fresh citrusy wines and beers are a great pairing to this dish then why not try a lemony cocktail such as our recipe for Lemon Gin Fizz?
Steinhart Gin (Steinhart, Select NSLC)
Lemon Gin Fizz
- 1 ½ oz Steinhart
- ¾ oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- 1 egg white
- Sprig thyme, for garnish
Place gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white into a dry cocktail shaker. Shake hard for 10 seconds. Add ice. Shake again for 10 seconds. Strain into a couple glass. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Mark DeWolf is SaltWire Network's director of food and drink. Get more of his tasty adventures by subscribing to the Follow a Foodie newsletter.