When you’re entertaining for the holidays, you want a dish that’s impressive and pretty, but also able to feed a crowd. Look no further than senior food editor Mary-Frances Heck’s pan-roasted lobster with chive beurre blanc, all served over a warm bed of pasta.
The lobster is roasted and then flambéed with bourbon; the beurre blanc is finished off with reserved lobster roe and chives for extra flavor. The end result? A decadent, celebratory meal that will probably end with everyone covered in butter — but that’s what makes it fun. Find out Mary-France’s key tips for making it below, and get the recipe here.
Save the roe, get rid of the liver
Mary-Frances takes the lobsters, which have been “totally dispatched,” and removes the dark green roe from the undersides so she can save them for the sauce. You’ll notice the light green tomalley, too, which is the liver — you don’t want to eat that, so discard it.
Prepare the lobsters
To butcher the lobsters, she slices between the body and the tail, and also separates the claws from the body. She recommends cracking the claws now, so that it’s easier for guests to eat when they’re at the table. Once the lobsters are ready, she puts them in the fridge while she starts on the sauce.
Make the beurre blanc
In a sauce pan, Mary-Frances melts a few tablespoons of butter and then adds shallots, making the classic beginning of a beurre blanc. She then adds Muscadet, a crisp French white wine, and reduces it until the shallots are just beginning to poke out above the level of the liquid. At that point, she puts the pan over low heat and starts adding in cold cubed butter bit by bit, whisking until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Once it’s emulsified, she squeezes in fresh lemon juice and finishes it off with a teaspoon of salt.
Roast the lobsters…
Mary-Frances roasts the lobsters in a 450 degree oven for five minutes. Then, she removes them, flips them over, and returns to the oven for another 3-5 minutes. You want the lobster shells to be bright red and the meat to be opaque and plump.
…and then flambé them
When the lobsters are out of the oven, she finishes them off with a drizzle of bourbon, and then lights them on fire with a lighter. While this would typically happen in a skillet if you were making one lobster, she explains, this adaptation allows you to do a few at once.
Finish off the sauce
After the lobsters are flambéed, Mary-Frances places them on top of cooked pasta and pours the drippings into a pan. She then adds the reserved roe to the pan, too, which immediately starts to turn pink. She recommends moving them around with a spoon until they're almost completely cooked—then, it’s time to add the beurre blanc and turn off the heat. With a quick whisk, Mary-Frances incorporates the roe and adds some chives, and then the sauce is ready to serve.
Plate and eat
Once the sauce is poured over the lobster and pasta, all that's left to do is enjoy—make sure everyone gets a tail and claw on their plates. (A lobster cracker would be handy for the knuckles.) As for the wine pairing? A racy, citrusy Albariño would go beautifully with the dish.