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Grilled Coconut Lobster

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 15 min
  • Prep: 35 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr 20 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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1 heaping tablespoon shrimp paste

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 stalks lemongrass, tender white parts only, minced

1 red Fresno chile, chopped with seeds

1 small handful cilantro stems and leaves, chopped

Pinch sea salt 

One 13.5-ounce can coconut milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 live lobsters (1 1/2 pounds each), placed in freezer for 20 minutes to 1 hour before cooking

1 lemon, sliced into wedges, for garnish

Fennel and Mandarin Salad, recipe follows

Fennel and Mandarin Salad:

2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed

6 mandarin oranges, segmented

1 cup micro herbs

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 scallion, thinly sliced on the angle, for garnish

1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds, for garnish


  1. With a mortar and pestle or food processor, blend the shrimp paste, red pepper flakes, ginger, lemongrass, chile, cilantro and salt into a smooth paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the coconut milk and oil; the marinade will be the consistency of a wet rub. 
  2. In a large pot, bring about 12 cups of water to a boil. Parboil the lobsters, covered, 5 five to 7 minutes. 
  3. Remove the lobsters from the pot and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. 
  4. Place the lobsters upside down on a cutting board. Slice in half lengthwise from the tail to the top of the head, leaving the tomalley but removing the lungs. Place the lobsters cut-side up in a large baking dish. Pour the marinade over the lobsters and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours. 
  5. Preheat a grill to medium heat. 
  6. Remove the lobsters from the marinade and place shell-side down on the hot grill. Cook the lobsters until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 
  7. Before serving, crack open the claws, and then serve immediately with lemon wedges and the Fennel and Mandarin Salad. 

Fennel and Mandarin Salad:

  1. Cut the fennel bulbs in half through the stem, and then slice very thinly. Place in a large bowl and add the mandarin segments and micro herbs. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, soy sauce, honey and garlic. Whisk together while slowly adding the oil. Drizzle half of the dressing over the fennel salad and toss. Taste and add more dressing if needed, and then adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. 
  3. Serve garnished with sliced scallions and toasted almonds.

Cook’s Note

Lobsters should be cooked on the day they are purchased. Store live lobsters in your refrigerator until you are ready to begin the cooking process.

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