Recipe courtesy of Michael Anthony

Lobster with Basil-Lemon Butter

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Steaming and preparing a lobster is really very simple if you know the right technique. This fresh, simple compound butter of fresh herbs, lemon, and shallot is a great way to enhance the sweet flavor of lobster.


Basil-lemon Butter



  1. Add enough water to a large pot to fill it a third of the way—enough to steam, but not fully submerge the lobster—and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, make the compound butter by placing butter, herbs, shallot, salt, a few grinds of pepper, and zest in bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, adding water 1 spoonful at a time if necessary to loosen and blend properly. Add lemon juice and process again to combine. Transfer seasoned butter to small container, cover, and hold at room temperature. (Note: Butter can be made in advance, refrigerated, and brought back to room temperature for serving.)
  2. When water has boiled, add sea salt, approximately one handful for each quart of water. Add whole lobster and steam for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove lobster from pot using a large slotted spoon or tongs. When cool enough to handle, break down the lobster in this order, placing each piece of meat gently on a plate: First, remove the claws. Then separate the tail from the head. Break the thick leg attached to the claw into two pieces at the joint, using the kitchen counter as leverage. Break the claw into two pieces, loosening at the joint. Split claw open with back of a chef's knife, and twisting at 90 degree angles. When the claw has cracked open, pull out the claw meat whole. Repeat with other claws.
  4. Lay each tail on its side and press down to crack; do not smash. Use thumbs to pull shell away, and gently pull the tail out whole. Trim away any ragged, small pieces of meat (and reserve for another use). Break down the elbows by gently cracking the shell with the back of a chef's knife in several places and peeling it away. Gently scrape the albumen from the meat.
  5. To finish, use the back of a spoon to smear some compound butter on the side of the plate. Slice lobster tail in half lengthwise, and arrange with other lobster pieces on the plate. Garnish meat with an additional dollop of butter, sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.