Recipe: butter-poached lobster from the virtuous fishmongers at Hooked

Recipe: butter-poached lobster from the virtuous fishmongers at Hooked

Toronto Life Cookbook Recipe 2012: Butter Poached Lobster

By Dan and Kristin Donovan

PREP TIME: 45 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
Serves 4


Coarse sea salt
6 lbs live lobster, about 4 lobsters, each 1½ lb
Ice cubes
1 lb butter, chilled and cubed
1–2 tsp lemon juice or unoaked chardonnay
Generous pinches of salt
¼ cup snipped chives
1 tbsp tarragon, chervil or basil, or a mix, finely chopped

1. Bring a large lobster pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Submerge the lobsters, head first, in water. Cook for approximately 5 minutes per lb or about 8 to 10 minutes for a 1½-lb lobster. You may need to cook in batches, depending on the size of your pot. Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes. After cooking, plunge immediately into ice water.

2. Once the lobster is cool enough to handle, cut off tail and claws using a large knife. Use kitchen shears to cut through shells and remove meat. Start with the soft underside of the tail. Pull apart the outer edges of the shell and remove the tail meat in one piece. Cut along both edges of the claw to expose the meat underneath. Working gently, wiggle meat from shells. Remove legs from body and pull off top joints. Press and roll a rolling pin or wine bottle firmly over the lobster’s legs from claw to tip, squeezing out the meat as you go. Set aside.

3. Place ¼ cup water in a medium-sized stainless steel pot. Set over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Whisk in chilled butter, 2 cubes at a time. Once cubes have almost melted, add 2 more, whisking constantly at a gentle simmer. Continue adding butter until the sauce is smooth and yellow and has the consistency of a puréed soup. Add lemon juice or chardonnay and salt. Taste and add more as needed.

4. Add lobster pieces to pot, keeping heat at medium. Heat for 6 to 8 minutes until lobster and sauce are warm but not boiling. Stir in herbs.

Toronto Life Cookbook Recipe 2012: Butter Poached Lobster
Skip the first two steps of this recipe by ordering steamed, shelled lobsters from Hooked (888 Queen St. E., 416-828-1861).

Toronto Life Cookbook Recipe 2012: Butter Poached LobsterDAN AND KRISTIN DONOVAN

Dan and Kristin Donovan’s original Leslieville seafood store is as cheerful and welcoming as any East Coast fish shack. Everything at the shop is sus­tainable; each item’s vital stats (ocean of origin, method of catch) are handwritten on signs, and clients chat with friendly staff who are quick to bolster the information with suggestions and advice. The Donovans opened Hooked in 2011 after Kristin decided she would no longer buy seafood of fishy provenance from evasive middlemen who couldn’t identify where or when the product was caught. In addition to virtuous catches, the Donovans offer cooking lessons and workshops, sharing recipes like this one for lobster poached in butter, a decadent feast that Dan likens to a crustaceous version of duck confit.

Recipes developed by Victoria Walsh. Recipe photography by Ryan Szulc. Portrait photography by Raina and Wilson. Illustrations by Aleksandar Janicijevic. Interviews by Denise Balkissoon, Ariel Brewster, Andrew D’Cruz, Jennifer Goldberg, Matthew Hague, Claire Hastings, Bronwen Jervis and Simone Olivero.