Roasted Lobsters with Verjus and Tarragon

Verjus, a cooking liquid pressed from unripe grapes, is a staple of classic French cooking; chefs love it today for its pleasant tang, which is much milder than vinegar. David Page uses verjus two ways here: to help baste the lobster as it roasts and to brighten a jalapeño-and-tarragon-inflected vinaigrette served over the sweet meat.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • Four 1 1/2-pound live lobsters
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup verjus (see Note)
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped shallot
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Bring a very large pot of salted water to a boil. Plunge the lobsters into the water head first and boil just until they stop moving, about 2 minutes. Transfer the lobsters to a cutting board and let cool slightly.

  2. Using a heavy knife, split the lobsters in half lengthwise. Wrap the claws in a clean towel and, using the back of the knife, crack the claws in several spots. Transfer the lobsters, cut side up, to 2 baking sheets.

  3. In a small bowl, mix the dried tarragon with the paprika and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Sprinkle the mixture over the lobsters and drizzle with 1/2 cup of the verjus and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Roast for 12 minutes, until the lobster meat is opaque; transfer the lobsters to a large platter.

  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the jalapeños, fresh tarragon, parsley and shallot with the remaining 1/4 cup of verjus and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the dressing over the lobsters and serve with the lemon wedges.


Wölffer Estate ( on Long Island's South Fork makes a terrific verjus , as does Terra Sonoma (

Suggested Pairing

To pair with this dish, consider unoaked Chardonnays, which share that nice tang and have enough body to match the lobster's richness. Try the minerally Iron Horse Vineyards Unoaked or the creamy Kim Crawford Unoaked Marlborough.

Contributed By Photo © Dana Gallagher Published October 2008

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