Nova Scotia-Style Creamy Lobster

This dish has been passed down by my father.  It’s the way lobster is traditionally prepared in his hometown of Yarmouth, NS.  It’s the way I was introduced to lobster and is still my favourite method of preparing and eating it.  It’s not exactly my dad’s recipe–traditionally you keep and use the liquids from the lobster in the sauce, but this makes it too “fishy” for my family,  so we keep the flavour lighter and just use the meat.  If you love that lobster taste though, by all means go ahead and use it.  And, oh yes, I made this on the grill.  Our grill has a side burner, which worked beautifully, but you can put your skillet right on the grill and do it that way.
Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Serve: 4-6 people

Ingredients

  • 4  1-1.25lb lobsters
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped

Preparation

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallot, garlic, salt and pepper, and fry lightly, stirring constantly, until shallot is translucent. Do not let shallot and garlic brown.
  2. Add wine and cook it down by half.  Add cream and parsley and stir well.  When cream starts to bubble, add in lobster meat to warm through and let the cream reduce.  This will only take a few minutes.  (See picture below.)  When sauce is reduced to the point where a spoon dragged through it leaves a trail in the pan, it is ready to serve.
  3. Serve on top of mashed potatoes, garnished with chives.

lobster pan

Tips

  • Choosing a steamed lobster:  If the lobster has a lot of white, foamy looking stuff on the shell, this is an indication it is overcooked.  The white is the protein albumen, and it starts to seep out when overcooked.  (The same thing happens with salmon and other fish.)  Ask to see the underside of the lobster as well, because the albumen will start to show there first.  Overcooked lobster is hard to remove from the shell, and because it gets warmed through in the sauce it could end up rubbery.
  • If steaming the lobster yourself, make sure you plunge it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process when it is done. The lobster will continue to cook in the shell otherwise and become overcooked.
  • Most of the prep time involves taking the meat out of the lobsters.  If you can get a couple of people to pitch in, you can cut the time in half.
  • With 1-1.25lb lobsters you get 4 generous adult-sized portions, or 6 regular-sized portions.
  • If you don’t like to cook with alcohol, you can substitute the juice of half a lemon for the wine.  The point is to add a bit of acidity to counter the richness of the cream and the lobster.
  • Keep your heat on the lower end.  This is a delicately flavoured recipe so you don’t overpower the taste of the lobster.  Browning the garlic and shallots will create an overpowering pungency.
  • DO NOT SUBSTITUTE A LOWER FAT CREAM.  This is really important.  A lower fat cream can easily separate, creating an unpleasant grainy texture to the sauce.  This is definitely an indulgent recipe, so just roll with it and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, I would love to hear what you think of it.  And if you have a traditional family recipe, please share it.  I’m always looking for new ideas.

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