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Butter Poached Lobster Salad

Michael Gulotta Seared Steak and Lobster Salad
Michael Gulotta Seared Steak and Lobster SaladNathan Congleton / TODAY


Butter poached lobster
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in to small chunks
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • Two 5-ounce lobster tails, fresh or thawed from frozen
Lobster passion fruit salad
  • 1 cup reserved warm lobster poaching butter (recipe above)
  • 4 tablespoons passion fruit juice, or fresh passion fruit if available
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 handfuls mixed salad greens
  • 3 radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 6 leaves basil, torn into large pieces
  • 2 warmed butter poached lobster tails (recipe above)
  • Chopped toasted pistachios, for garnish (optional)
  • Roasted baby beets, for garnish (optional)

Chef notes

It may seem a little intimidating, but there is no better way to impress a date than to serve home cooked lobster. This dish is luxurious, but surprisingly light and refreshing.

Technique tip: Use warm water lobster tails instead of Maine lobster. Their tales are usually bigger, but they have no claws. 

Swap options: If you can't find a fresh vanilla bean, you can substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Also, you may substitute pomegranate juice or orange juice for the passion fruit.


For the butter poached lobster:


In a small sauce pot over medium-high heat bring the water to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the salt and lemon juice. Now, begin whisking in the butter a little at a time. Do not add more butter until the butter in the pot is completely melted.


Once all of the butter is whisked into the pot, turn the heat to medium, but do not let it boil. If you have a candy thermometer, use it to keep the butter between 180°F and 190°F.


Using a small knife, cut the vanilla pod lengthwise. Use the back of the blade to scrape the tiny vanilla seeds out of the inside of the pod and stir them into the butter mixture. The pod can then be thrown into the butter mixture as well. Allow the vanilla to perfume the warm butter, about five minutes.


While the butter and vanilla are warming together, pick up one of the lobster tails with a kitchen towel and place it on a cutting board belly up. Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut along each side of the belly where it meets the hard outer shell. Start at the fatter side and work towards the tip of the tail. Gently pull the belly shell off and discard. While still holding the tail belly side up, use the towel for protection and crack the tail open lengthwise. Very gently remove the meat so it does not tear (if the meat rips a little it is not a problem, it will still taste delicious). Repeat this process with the other tail.


Give the butter mixture another good whisk and make sure it is still between 180°F and 190°F, any hotter and the lobster will get tough. Drop the lobster tails into the butter and let them cook for about 5 minutes (1 minute per ounce is a good rule) or until warm all the way through.


Once the lobster tails are warmed through, gently remove them from the pot and reserve. They can always be added back to the butter to rewarm if they get cold, just don't let them boil. Keep the poaching butter warm for the salad.

For the lobster passion fruit salad:


In a small pot over a low heat, whisk together the reserved lobster poaching butter, passion fruit juice, and honey. Keep warm.


Mix together the salad greens, shaved radish, and torn basil leaves and place equal amounts in the center of two dinner plates.


On a cutting board, slice the warm lobster tails into medallions and fan them next to the mixed greens.


Drizzle the salad with the warm passion fruit vinaigrette, top with pistachios and beets (if using) and serve immediately.