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.
More Quick Shellfish Recipes
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 It
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.
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.
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.
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.