My family get a lobster every year for Christmas and it still feels special. The true magic of this dish is in the shellfish boil – an aromatic cooking liquid that adds buckets of flavour to whatever you’re cooking. You could also use yabbies, prawns or marron in this dish instead of the lobster.
- 1 live lobster (about 1.5 kg) (see Note)
- 125 ml (½ cup) mayonnaise
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and black pepper, to season
- 6 soft dinner rolls, or small hot dog buns, split
- melted butter, for brushing
- 6 cornichons, to serve
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 star anise
- 1 brown onion, halved
- 2 lemons, halved
- 125 ml (½ cup) white vinegar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 30 minutes
To make the shellfish boil, place all the ingredients in a large saucepan with 4 litres of cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat, then add the lobster and return to the boil. Once the liquid has returned to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes, then drain and refresh in a large bowl of iced water. Drain again, then twist the head and the tail in opposite directions to separate the tail. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut down the back of the shell on the under-side and remove the shell. Make a long incision down the back of the peeled lobster tail and remove the digestive tract. Crack the claws and remove the meat, then coarsely chop all the meat.
Place the lobster meat and all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine.
Toast the rolls, then brush the cut sides with melted butter. Fill with the lobster mixture, then secure with a cornichon threaded onto a toothpick.
• To euthanise the lobster humanely, place it in the freezer for 30 minutes to put it to ‘sleep’, then use a large skewer or knife to piece in between the head and the body.
Destination Flavour Christmas airs Friday December 16 at 4.30pm on SBS