Last minute Christmas-worthy Lobster Recipes (crayfish)

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If you snapped up some of the steeply discounted cooked lobsters recently sold at Australian supermarkets, here are my 6 best Christmas-worthy lobster recipes to really make the most of them. I’ll also show you how easy it is to remove the lobster meat from the shell!

Lobster recipes - cooked lobster and crayfish

Lobster Recipes

Rounding off a crazy year, Australian grocery stores have been selling lobsters at steeply discounted prices in the weeks leading up to Christmas due to trade tensions with China. (Read more below.)

If you’ve been lucky enough to pick one up, here are 6 Lobster recipes that really make the most of them. All easy – and you’re likely to have everything to make at least one of these, if not two or three!

Note: This post specifically contains dishes using cooked lobsters and crayfish, not raw, because the discounted lobsters that spurred this post came cooked. There’s a broader variety of preparation options for raw lobster which are not covered in this post.

Cooked lobsters
4 bargain lobsters I picked up this Christmas! Technically, they are crayfish not lobsters, because they do not have the giant claws. In Australia, we only have crayfish. But everyone calls them lobsters!
Lemon Browned Butter Sauce for Lobster
Lobster with Lemon Browned Butter Sauce (Beurre noisette – yes, it’s French darling!)

Best way to serve cooked lobster

My biggest advice for making a dish with pre-cooked lobster is to keep it simple, and do not cook it which will risk drying it out. That’s like cooking a cooked steak – you just don’t!

Store bought pre-cooked lobster does not have the same full flavour as a freshly cooked raw one, so it’s best to preserve the flavour it does have by keeping it simple. Let the lobster meat take centre stage!

Note: you cannot make cooked lobster dishes such as Lobster Mornay and Lobster Bisque with a lobster already cooked. You need raw lobster. Let’s save these for another time!

Lobster Platter
Plate of lobster, seafood platter style, pictured here with Brown Butter Lemon Sauce for drizzling and dipping. Any of the Seafood Sauces listed below are also idea!

6 Lobster Recipes using cooked lobster

Here are the lobster recipes I’m sharing today:

  1. Lobster with seafood sauce (choose from 4)
  2. Lobster Cocktail (Prawn Cocktail – but made with lobster!)
  3. Lobster with herb and garlic butter
  4. Lobster with French Lemon Butter Sauce (Beurre noisette)
  5. Lobster with Salsa Verde
  6. Lobster Rolls – the ultimate seafood sandwich. Full stop, end of story!

1. Seafood Sauces (4 types)

Dipping lobster into seafood sauce
Dipping a piece of lobster into the RecipeTin Family Favourite Seafood Sauce, one of the sauces the Prawn Dipping Sauces post

Serving lobster alongside seafood sauces is a classic summer way of serving lobster that let’s the beautiful lobster flavour take centre stage. Think – giant seafood platters served at restaurants!

Almost any seafood sauce you would ordinarily serve with seafood will work well with lobster. Here are 3 classics plus our family favourite that I use as Prawn Dipping Sauces (ie alongside giant buckets of cooked prawns!):

  1. Marie Rose / Thousand Island sauce – a neutral creamy pink sauce made with mayonnaise and ketchup that will let the flavour of lobster shine;
  2. Seafood Cocktail Sauce – the punchier flavoured version of Marie Rose. The sauce itself actually has flavour, it’s tangy and kind of savoury, with more layers of flavour because there’s more ingredients in this. Use sparingly with lobster ie don’t done heavily!
  3. Tartare sauce – just like what you get at the local fish and chip shop! (Except better, because you can actually taste the gherkins and capers in it); and
  4. Our Family Favourite Seafood Sauce – a cross between Marie Rose and Tartare with more freshness and flavour.
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You can buy all these sauces at the grocery store. But they pale in comparison to freshly made!


2. Lobster Cocktail

If you’re thinking hey, that’s prawns in the photo not lobster!, you’re right! The photo below is Prawn Cocktails and lobster makes an outright perfect switch for the prawns in the recipe.

This is a good, easy idea for elegant, individual starters.

Prawn Cocktail - Prawns (shrimp) tossed in a Marie Rose Sauce, the classic pink mayonnaise sauce for prawn cocktails. Fast, fresh and delicious! www.recipeteineats.com

My biggest advice: keep it simple. Don’t cook it – you risk drying it out. And don’t overwhelm the lobster with other flavours!


3. Lobster with herb & garlic butter

Garlic Butter Sauce for Lobster

A good easy one you just can’t go wrong with! Melted butter, garlic, lemon and a good hit of fresh parsley.

To serve: Drizzle generously over sliced lobster, and also serve in a small bowl so everyone can help themselves (or dunk!). For individual plates, serve it like the Lemon Browned Butter Lobster pictured below.

TIP: Make sure to provide crusty bread. All the lobster juices and butter makes for a very good bread-plate-mopping situation!


4. Lemon Browned Butter Sauce for Lobster

Lemon Butter Sauce for Lobster

Called Beurre noisette in French, this is a brilliant luxurious sauce for all types of seafood and is a very popular sauce recipe used for fish. The reason it’s so good is because it’s not just melted butter with lemon, it’s browned butter which has a much more intense, nutty flavour than plain melted butter.

Plus, the intense golden yellow colour is stunning! And to think this is just made with two ingredients – butter and lemon! (It’s all in the method)

Spoon scooping up homemade ghee

How to serve it: As above with garlic butter, drizzle and also provide extra for each person to spoon over as much as they want.

TIP: This is a good one to use if you want to plate up individual start-size plates, such as pictured at the top of the post. It looks elegant because the butter is a more intense yellow colour than just normal melted butter, and as mentioned above it’s a bit fancy pants Frenchy.


5. Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde with Lobster
Salsa Verde on lobster pieces, an idea for a lobster starter

A green sauce made with finely minced fresh herbs mixed with olive oil and a little garlic, this is spectacular with most seafoods, from cooked fish to grilled prawns, and most certainly for lobster.

How to serve it: Platter style for sharing, with a bowl of Salsa Verde for people to help themselves. Or the lobster sliced into bite size pieces with Salsa Verde drizzled over it, served as individual starters – as pictured above.

6. Lobster Rolls

Hailing from New England in the States, lobster rolls have achieved somewhat of a cult status in NYC. Luxurious yet relatable, though often comes with a hefty price tag, these are surely the most luxurious sandwich in the world…though I use the word “sandwich” loosely!!

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Lobster rolls

Comprised of shredded or chopped lobster in a mayonnaise based sauce stuffed inside soft rolls, there’s just one important rule: don’t skimp on the lobster. The whole point of a lobster roll is for the filling to be abundant and overflowing. Every bite should be mostly lobster with bread just taking a supporting role. Not the other way round!

So don’t make lobster rolls if you don’t have enough lobster!

TIP: 1 average size discounted whole lobster currently selling at Woolworths/Coles (~700-800g whole) is enough to fill just over 2 mini brioche bun rolls, as pictured above, or 3 mini brioche rolls (ie round).


No lobster mornay? No Lobster pasta??

There are some great classic lobster recipes that can only be made with raw lobster. So in this section, I cover off on why they are not suitable to make with pre-cooked lobster.

Lobster Pasta with Garlic Butter
Lobster pasta made with raw lobster, using the shell and head to make a stock that was used as the pasta sauce. I made this a couple of months ago using fresh local lobsters caught by a friend.

As mentioned above, the lobster flavour, tenderness of juiciness of the meat is not as good with pre-cooked lobsters compared to freshly cooked raw lobsters.

In addition, not starting with raw lobster means you lose the ability to make dishes that require a lengthy cook time, the extra flavour you get from the shell or even the flavour you get in sauces from searing the raw lobster meat, such as when we make things like Creamy Garlic Prawns.

This limits the uses of pre-cooked lobster compared to raw lobster which can be used for a much wider variety of such as pastas, lobster bisque and Lobster Mornay, to name a few.

If you just tossed lobster meat into pasta or a soup, you would only get lobster flavour when you bit into a piece of meat – and it’s dispersed throughout. So to make a really good, say, lobster pasta, you really need the lobster flavour in the sauce to coat the pasta, and to achieve this you need to start with raw lobster.


How to remove shell / meat of lobster (crayfish)

Around 95% of the meat in lobster is in the tail, so that’s all we need to remove. It’s not difficult to do with cooked lobster here’s how:

1. Insert knife between head and tail – insert a small knife in the gap between the shell where the tail and head meat on a 45 degree angle, almost scraping the inside of the shell of the head;

How to remove shell from lobster

2 Cut through the flesh along the top and side of the lobster (no need to cut all the way around);

How to remove shell from lobster

3. Twist off tail – then give the tail a twist and it will separate from the head. A good chunk of the meat from inside the head should be attached. If the meat has yellow and black bits on it from inside the head, just scrape or cut it off. The yellow stuff is called tomalley – or “mustard” – as has intense lobster flavour…. but it’s an acquired taste. I don’t eat it!

How to remove shell from lobster
The yellow “mustard” inside the lobster head is called tomalley and it has intense lobster flavour. Some people love it. I’m not one of them – it’s an acquired taste! So I discard it.

4. Cut underside with scissors – flip the tail upside down so the soft shell is facing up. Then cut down either side so you can peel it back a bit like opening a can of sardines!

How to remove shell from lobster
How to remove shell from lobster
After cutting down either side of the tail, peel back the soft shell to reveal the pearly flesh!

5. Loosen meat – just use your hands to loosen the lobster meat from the shell. It comes out easily and neatly;

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How to remove shell from lobster

6. Remove poop vein – if you see a poop vein (black “string” down the back of the lobster tail meat), then carefully pull it out. If you stretch the meat out straight, you should be able to pull it out in one go. If it breaks, just cut an incision halfway down the lobster tail then use a toothpick to help remove it.

Otherwise, pick it out when you slice it. (Sometimes poop vein is thick, sometimes barely there!)

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7. Lobster meat removed! And voila! Lobster tail meat remove from the shell in one neat piece!

Looks like a giant prawn, no? 🙂

How to remove shell from lobster
Lobster tail meat looks like a giant prawn! Consider save the tail shell for presentation. You could even serve the Lobster Cocktail option IN the tail shell!

8. Serve whole or cut – you can either serve the lobster meat in one piece and let people cut it themselves into bite size pieces. Or you can cut it up into chunks – up to you, and depends how much lobster there is to go around.

Scroll up to see photos of individual plates where I sliced the lobster meat, and the platter where I kept most of the pieces whole.

Tip: Keep at least one lobster head. It makes for great presentation on a platter!

Lobster meat removed from shell
Difference between lobsters and crayfish?

Lobsters have big claws whereas crayfish do not, but other than that they are basically the same thing. They taste the same, and the preparation for cooking is the same.

In Australia, we only have crayfish. But everyone calls them lobsters – even in the stores, and even for exporting purposes!

Lobster Platter

How to warm cooked lobster

Though I do not recommend cooking cooked lobster, you can warm it up slightly if you wish.

The best method is to steam using a stove steamer, just for a few minutes until the lobster meat is warmed through. Don’t risk a microwave steamer – too easy to cook the lobster!

Cheap lobsters?!! The background….

Trade tensions with China has seen our lobster export industry come to a standstill. China accounts for 95% of our $750 million lobster export industry – that’s a LOT of lobster!

So millions of dollars of lobsters which were destined for the export market have made their way to mainstream Australian grocery stores (Woolworths and Coles). They are being sold at heavily discounted prices of ~$20 each, making them far more accessible for everyday Aussies compared to the usual hefty price tags, upwards of $100 each!

These discounted lobsters are sold cooked and frozen, so the recipes contained in this post is specifically for cooked lobster.

And there you have it. Some quick last-minute recipes for fellow Aussies who have been lucky enough to score some of the discount lobsters this Christmas. An impromptu post I decided to share after learning at 11 am today that I’ll be in lockdown over Christmas Day – so I decided to use the lobsters I got for Christmas Day Lunch to do this post instead!

I know I say these are “quick and easy”, but I did manage to make a frightful mess photographing these recipes…. The clean up was long and painful!!! 😂 – Nagi x

Nagi kitchen mess lobster recipes
Nagi RecipeTin Eats iPhone photo of lobsters
An ironic “Move further away” notice on my iPhone in light of the current lockdown circumstances in my local area!

Watch how to make it

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Lobster recipes - using cooked lobster or crayfish

Lobster Recipes – for cooked lobster or crayfish

Servings4 – 8 people

Tap or hover to scale

Here are 6 easy recipes for cooked lobster or crayfish that make the most of this luxury seafood! When you buy pre-cooked lobster, it’s best to keep it simple to preserve the flavour in the flesh (flavour is better with freshly cooked raw lobster – but much more expensive to buy!).TOP TIP: Keep it simple and don’t re-cook lobster that’s already cooked (risk of drying out, loss of flavour). Treat it like buckets of cooked whole prawns you peel yourself!Rundown of each recipe in recipe notes below.

Ingredients

1. Seafood Sauces for Lobster – choose:

3. Lobster with Herb & Garlic Butter (enough for 2 lobsters)

4. Lobster with French Lemon Butter Sauce (2 lobsters)

5. Lobster with Salsa Verde (4 lobsters)

Instructions

Remove shell (see photos in post):

  • Cut between head and tail: Insert a small knife at a 45 degree angle into the gap between the tail and head. Cut along the top and sides through to the middle – no need to do underneath.

  • Separate head from tail: Twist the tail to separate it from the head. It will pull out meat from the head as well.

  • Clean: Scrape or trim off any yellow of black residue on the end that came out of the head.

  • Cut underside: Cut down both sides of the soft shell on the underside of the tail. Then peel it back like a can of sardines to reveal the lobster flesh.

  • Remove flesh: Carefully remove the flesh – it should come off the shell cleanly.

  • Remove poop vein – if you see a poop vein (black “string” down the back of the lobster tail meat), then carefully pull it out. If you stretch the meat out straight, you should be able to pull it out in one go. Otherwise, pick it out when you slice it. (Sometimes poop vein is thick, sometimes barely there!)

  • Residual meat in head: There will be some residual meat in the head that can be used. The yellow “mustard” (called tomalley) has very intense lobstar flavour but is an acquired taste… I do not eat it!

  • How to serve: Lobster tail meat can be served whole, sliced into thick or thin pieces or diced, depending on use. I do not recommend shredded as it loses juiciness.

Seafood Sauces:

  • Make Sauce per the Dipping Sauces recipe.
  • Serve alongside lobster for dipping. Either cut the lobster into bite size pieces, or serve whole for people to cut themselves. Plate it up individually or on a share platter.

Lobster Cocktail:

  • Make the Prawn Cocktail recipe but substitute prawn for lobster cut into small bite size pieces.

Lobster with Herb & Garlic Butter:

  • Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Once foamy, add garlic and cook until light golden. Remove from stove, add lemon juice and parsley.

  • Serving: Pour into serving bowl and serve alongside lobster. Garnish with parsley leaves and lemon wedges.

  • Eating: Let people either dip in bite size pieces or drizzle over lobster, plated up indivudually or on a share style plate. Mop plate clean with crusty bread!

Lobster with Lemon Browned Butter Sauce

  • Make the sauce per the Lemon Browned Butter Sauce recipe.
  • Slice the lobster into bite size pieces. Pile onto plate or arrange on indivudual plates. Sprinkle with salt (necessary as browned butter is unsalted).

  • Serving: Drizzle with some browned butter, then serve more on the side. Garnish with parsley leaves and lemon wedges.

  • Eating: To eat, dip or drizzle lobster with more browned butter. Mop plate clean with crusty bread!

Salsa Verde:

  • Blitz ingredients in a Nutribullet or small food processor until it becomes a paste. It should be smooth but a bit of courseness for texture ie don’t blend into a smoothie.

  • Slice lobster into bite size pieces. Arrange on indvidual plates or share plate. Drizzle little dollops of salsa verde over lobster – don’t go overboard, the flavour is quite strong!

  • Garnish with lemon wedges & parlsey leaves, serve.

Lobster Rolls:

  • Place lobster in a bowl. Add mayonnaise, lemon, chives, celery, green onions, salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat.

  • Split then generously butter buns or rolls. Stuff generously! Makes 2 mini brioche buns or 3 round rolls.

Recipe Notes:

DESCRIPTION OF EACH RECIPE

  1. Lobster with seafood sauce (choose from 4) – alla seafood platter style, the most classic way to make the most of lobster flesh.
  2. Lobster Cocktail – it’s Prawn Cocktail, but made with lobster!
  3. Lobster with garlic butter – a dead set sure thing you can never go wrong with!
  4. Lobster with French Lemon Butter Sauce (Beurre noisette) – “it’s French, darling!” Made with browned butter which has intense buttery, lemon flavour, this sauce is a French classic and is a very elegant, restaurant-worthy sauce for lobster. Plates up elegantly as an individual starter (see in post)
  5. Lobster with Salsa Verde – bright green parsley garlic sauce, a classic with seafood that delivers big flavour! Excellent sauce to serve with plain seafoods, and looks striking against the white flesh;
  6. Lobster Rolls – a New York favourite! Best for freshly cooked lobster otherwise the lobster flavour isn’t as strong. If using the discount Woolworths/Coles lobster, you need to stuff (very!) generously to ensure you get a good lobster flavour (the lobster flavour in those isn’t the strongest)

1. Lobster – this list has been created as a compilation of recipes that work well using pre-cooked lobster. The uses are more limited than using raw lobster, and the main tip I have is to use the lobster as is, without cooking it again (risk of drying out, loss of flavour).
If you have raw lobster, the variety of options is much broader so don’t limit yourself to just this list!
Frozen lobster – place on a tray or large bowl and thaw overnight in the fridge. Drain well before using.
Removing lobster shell – do not do this until you are ready to serve the lobster as it protects the flesh and keeps it juicy.
2Salsa Verde – leftovers can be frozen. Thaw in fridge overnight. Use as sauce for fish or other seafood. Strong flavour means you needn’t do anything else to flavour the fish!
3. Lobster rolls:

  • 1 whole lobster currently selling at discounted prices at Woolworths/Coles will make 2 mini brioche buns or 3 mini brioche round rolls.
  • Do not skimp on filling – there will be too much bread which will takeover the lobster eating experience! 
  • Mayonnaise quality is key for a great lobster roll experience! Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise is the best in my opinion (smoothest, richest flavour and mouthfeel), followed by Hellman’s then S&W Whole Egg Mayonnaise. 

Low fat or cheap mayonnaise brands – too sweet or too sharp or just don’t taste real! Don’t waste your lobster on bad mayo – use the good stuff!

Life of Dozer

The last minute cancellation of Christmas parties and extended stay by family during this Christmas period means that both Dozer and I have been doing a lot of THIS over the past week!!

Dozer lying by pool



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