How to serve lobsterNovember 13, 2023
Lobster is a shellfish that often has a reputation of being very expensive – but it need not be. It’s become increasingly popular, to the extent that you’ll now see it on pub menus as well as in fine-dining restaurants.
The flesh of these crustaceans is often described as a cross between crab and prawns. Lobster has a sweeter flavour than crab meat, but a firm bite and a rich, satisfying taste that works incredibly well in many recipes.
If you’re wondering how much lobster per person to cook, HelloFresh’s recipe development manager, Mimi Morley, suggests aiming for between 500 – 700g – the former for those with a small appetite, the latter for those who like a heartier meal. Remember, too, that live weight and cooked weight vary: you can generally expect a lobster’s live weight to decrease by 10-15% once cooked.
How to cook lobster
The method for cooking lobster will depend on whether you’re cooking lobster from fresh or frozen, whether it’s whole or portioned, and how you’re planning on serving it.
To cook a whole lobster:
- If still alive, chill the lobster in the fridge for around an hour.
- Choose a sharp and sturdy knife and find the cross on the lobster’s head. Push the tip of the knife through this point, firmly and quickly, directing the blade side towards its tail. This will kill the lobster instantly. Once killed, weigh the lobster before cooking.
- Once ready to cook, fill a large pan with cold salted water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Add the lobster and cook for 15 minutes for the first 450g. Add another 10 minutes to the cooking time for each additional 450g – but don’t exceed 40 minutes.
How to cook lobster tail
Lobster tails can be grilled, barbecued, baked, steamed or boiled. If you’re new to cooking lobster tails, boiling may be the easiest option: it’s the best way to avoid the shells sticking to the flesh.
To boil lobster tails:
- Place a long skewer lengthways through the tail. This will stop it from curling up when cooking.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and add salt.
- Boil for the amount of time detailed below, depending on the size of the tail.
- Once cooked, immediately plunge into ice or cold water. This will prevent the lobster from overcooking.
To grill lobster tails:
- Preheat your grill or prepare your barbecue.
- Brush the cut side of each tail with the oil of your choice.
- Once the grill is hot, place the lobster tails cut-side down on the grille.
- Cook until the lobster shells turn bright red, and the liquid that drips from them is white. This will take approximately 8 minutes.
- Cool slightly, and serve with butter or other accompaniments of your choice.
How long to cook lobster for?
Grilling lobster tails will take around 8 minutes, while boiling a whole lobster will take 10 minutes for the first 450g, then an extra 10 minutes for each additional 450g.
Boiling lobster tails will vary in time depending on their weight. Use the following as a guide:
- 85-170g: 3-5 minutes
- 170g-200g: 5-6 minutes
- 200g-285g: 6-8 minutes
- 285g-455g: 8-10 minutes
- 455g-565g: 10 minutes
- 565g-795g: 10-13 minutes
Cooking times may vary in different countries, depending on the weight of the lobster, the type of grill or the amount of charcoal being used. This is why, when barbecuing, it’s best to check the colour of the shell and the the liquid to judge if the lobster is cooked.
Lobsters do continue to cook after removing them from the heat, so bear this in mind when preparing, cooking and serving your lobster. The best way to ensure that the lobster has reached its optimal temperature is to use a cooking thermometer. Simply insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the lobster, and if the internal temperature remains 76°C for 30 seconds, it is ready to eat.
How to serve lobster
One of the most classic ways to serve lobster is simply with melted butter, whether it’s plain or flavoured with ingredients such as garlic, onion, lemon, paprika or cayenne pepper. It’s best served with simple sides like a jacket potato, bread roll, corn on the cob, potato salad or a green salad – so the sides don’t overpower the flavour of the lobster.
Lobster rolls are a popular choice, where a hot dog bun is filled with lobster and spiced mayonnaise. For something with a little more effort, try making your own lobster ravioli or a Lobster Thermidor. The French dish serves up lobster meat that has been cooked in a rich wine sauce, then placed back into the lobster shell and grilled with a sprinkle of grated cheese.
Whether you’re after a simple family meal or looking for a dish to wow dinner guests, these lobster recipes from HelloFresh have got you covered:
- Garlic Herb Butter Shrimp & Lobster with Lemony Broccoli & Chive Crème Fraîche Mashed Potatoes
- Lobster BLTs with a Caesar Side Salad
- Lobster & Shrimp Roll with Old Bay Potato Wedges
- Luscious Lobster, Steak & Black Truffle Butter
Looking for more great seafood recipes? Check out the HelloFresh recipe collection here