Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Lobster mayonnaise is a delicious treat that you can easily make at home for a special occasion.
Once you have made your own homemade mayonnaise once, there is no going back! So much tastier than shop bought too, this classic French sauce is a base for many other sauces. Now you can make your own, at a fraction of the cost,for any occasion.
Why you will love this dish
Living in France, we often visited our nearest port, which was La Rochelle. Famous for it's seafood, we often liked to share a huge seafood platter. Typically there would be oysters, langoustine, prawns, whelks, sea snails, clams and some crab
However, if you ask for crab mayonnaise, then be prepared! In my experience a whole undressed crab arrives on a plate with lemon and mayonnaise and some tools and that's it - you are on your own. Now I am totally happy with that, but not everyone relishes this task!
Anyway, a lobster is a much easier beast to navigate and so impressive as a special dish, as a starter or as a surf and turf with your favourite steak.
I've broken this down into easy steps to prepare the lobster and with plenty of tips and tricks for the perfect mayonnaise too.
What is mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise is one of the French 'Mother' sauces, or basic sauces, from where many of the sauces we still use today, come from.
Then there are daughter sauces, which have a mayonnaise base which include; tartare, aïoli, Marie rose and Elizabeth.
This sauce is made by emulsifying egg yolks with oil. The egg yolks contain lecithin, which is a protein. Normally, if you had a jug of oil and added water, the two ingredients would form different layers. The lecithin is able to combine with water and oil and create a stable sauce. The water in the sauce being lemon juice or vinegar or both.
Other 'Mother ' sauces which are emulsified are Hollandaise and Beurre Blanc.
What are the ingredients?
This is so simple to make by using ingredients you would normally have to hand, such as egg yolks, vegetable oil, salt and lemon juice. I don't always have fresh lemons so I often keep a bottle of lemon juice at home. Many recipes use white wine vinegar instead of the lemon juice too.
You can use half olive oil and half vegetable oil if you prefer. However, if it's made just with olive oil the emulsion can be unstable.
How to make the dill mayonnaise by hand or blender method
Start by putting the yolks in a ceramic bowl with the salt and a few drops of the lemon juice and whisk together to combine.
I find it's easier to put the oil in the jug before I start to make the sauce. This makes it easier to control.
Add a small amount of oil from a teaspoon to the egg yolks, whisking all the time.
The mixture should start to thicken. Now you need to keep whisking whilst adding a very slow stream of oil at the same time.
I find it's easier to keep stopping to check the oil has been incorporated fully before adding any more.
When you are happy with the consistency, season to taste. You may prefer to add more lemon juice at this stage, especially if you are serving the sauce as a lobster mayonnaise or with crab.
At this point the sauce is ready to eat, but I love to add different flavours depending on what I'm serving it with.
You can also make this in a blender or a food processor, if you have a small bowl to use. The process is exactly the same but just be sure to make sure that the first drops of oil are incorporated before adding any more.
Dill Mayonnaise and Basil Mayonnaise
I grow fresh dill in my garden , but most supermarkets sell it now. If you can't find fresh then dried dill also works. just use a teaspoon of dried to replace a tablespoon of fresh herbs instead. I take all the fronds from the stems and finely chop a couple of tablespoons. Now all that you need to do is stir it into the mayonnaise with extra lemon juice to taste. It also goes well with crab, prawns and salmon.
I really like basil with seafood too, especially with prawns or a white fish like cod. Just add a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh basil. If you love basil then you can also make a basil mousseline sauce, which is delicious served with hot fish.
How to prepare lobster
I tend to buy lobster ready cooked and frozen as it's the best value. I just thaw it overnight, then drain and lay on kitchen paper.
Place the lobster down on a chopping board and begin by cutting through the cross on the head lengthways and through to the tail.
Remove the black intestinal vein from along the tail end and the dead man's fingers, which are the feathery gills.
Aside from the tail meat you can also eat any of the orange roe and the grey liver.
The legs don't tend to have much meat but don't forget to remove the meat from the pincers. If you don't have shell crackers then nut crackers work or the side of a steak mallet or rolling pin. The meat should be easy to pull out in one piece, but there is a cartilage that runs through the pincer so be careful when you eat it.
There are many 'daughter' sauce variations, but here are some of my favourites:
Tartare - Absolutely essential for battered cod in fish and chips, this one is so easy to make. I normally just add some chopped capers and parsley and more lemon juice but traditionally chopped cornichons or gherkins are used.
Aïoli - I know that some people use raw garlic but it can be very harsh so use it sparingly, adding a little crushed garlic at a time. I prefer to make roasted garlic mayonnaise, which is much milder. This goes with absolutely anything, but my favourite is hot battered prawns!
Marie rose - This one is the staple of the prawn cocktail, but it's great served with any cold shellfish. Just add some ketchup, (or tomato purée), a dash of tabasco and Worcester sauce. A sprinkling of cayenne or paprika on top transports me straight back to the 70's!
Elizabeth - This sauce is more widely known as Coronation, created for the Queen's coronation and served with cold poached chicken. Add some chopped lightly fried onion to the mayonnaise, along with curry powder and apricot jam. I love to use mango chutney instead. This makes a great salad and amazing sandwiches.
If you love making your own homemade sauces then this easy Teriyaki sauce is perfect for stir fries and French shallot, mushroom and Cognac sauce is delicious with pork and chicken.
As this sauce has uncooked eggs it should be kept covered in the refrigerator and used within a day. It may start to become oily but will be fine with a quick whisk .
Tips for making the perfect mayonnaise
- Keep all the ingredients at room temperature before you start.
- If you have difficulty separating eggs it does help to leave them in the fridge first. Just bring the yolks back to temperature before you start.
- If you cannot get the mayonnaise to thicken, don't panic. Start with a fresh egg yolk and beat in the mixture from scratch. This will result in a really thick mayonnaise so you will need to add more oil or you can add some water to loosen the mixture.
Although I love lobster cold I did smother this one in garlic compound butter then warmed it under the grill.
Serve the lobster with the dill mayonnaise, some salad and even a pile of chips to dunk in the luscious dill mayonnaise!
When you've finished this dish keep the shells from the lobster, or other shellfish you have eaten, and store in a bag in the freezer. Then you can make an amazing seafood bisque - a delicious soup, to wow your guests and absolutely free!
More shellfish dishes to try
Lobster with Dill Mayonnaise
- glass or ceramic bowl
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt
- 250 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp dill fresh and chopped
- 4 lobsters
- Put the yolks in a ceramic bowl with the salt and a few drops of the lemon juice and whisk together to combine.
- Pour the oil into a jug then add a small amount of oil to the egg yolks, whisking all the time.
- Keep whisking, whilst adding a very slow stream of oil at the same time.
- Check the seasoning and add more lemon juice as required then stir in the chopped dill.
- Place the lobster down and begin by cutting through the cross on the head lengthways and through to the tail.
- Remove the black intestinal vein from the tail end and the grey feathery gills.
- Carefully remove the meat from the pincers using shellfish crackers.
- Serve the lobster with a pot of dill mayonnaise on the side.
- Keep all the ingredients at room temperature before you start.
- If you have difficulty in separating the eggs, it does help to leave them in the fridge first. Just bring the yolks back to temperature before you start.
- If you cannot get the mayonnaise to thicken, don't panic. Start with a fresh egg yolk and beat in the mixture from scratch. This will result in a thick mayonnaise so you will need to add more oil or you can add some water to loosen the mixture.
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove