Lobster salad is a cold dish with a handful of ingredients. Perfect for a light luncheon or dinner, it can be served on top of greens or even in a roll, which is known as a Cold Lobster Roll or New England Roll.
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Lobster Salad Recipe
While lobsters are generally seen as a fancy meal, lobster rolls are considered casual and cold lobster salad falls some place in the middle.
Basically a low carb version of the lobster roll, you’ll see it on menus topping leafy greens or even sometime a tomato halve or avocado, like chicken salad is served. It is a simple recipe using minimal ingredients.
It can be slathered between two pieces of white bread, but then it looks eerily similar to a lobster roll with a long, split top bun. You can use hot dog buns if you are unable to find them.
The actual ingredients are up for much debate and every restaurant will claim to be “the best” and have some minor variations. The cardinal rule of the best lobster salad is to NOT SKIMP ON THE LOBSTER.
The most noticeable ingredient must be lumps of luscious fresh lobster meat. Most salads use the meat from 1 whole lobster. Account for about 1 cup per 1 1/2 pound lobster.
You will also need:
- Celery– Celery isn’t super flavorful but does add a fresh crunch to the mix.
- Mayonnaise– Use a good quality mayo for this one. I like mine to be a little drier, but other likes a wet or “sloppy” lobster salad. If this is you, then add a tablespoon more. You can also sub mashed avocado or plain Greek yogurt.
- Lemon Juice– Just a dab of lemon gives your lobster salad acidity and brightens the whole lot. I do recommend using fresh versus bottled, it has a lot more citrus flavor. And if you want a super lemon forward dish, add 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest to the mix.
- Chives- Chives are usually seen to garnish, but I like the light onion essence in my actual salad too. Cut back or omit these if you like. Alternatively, you can grate 1 tablespoon of sweet onion.
- Kosher salt– the less salty of the salts, it brings out natural flavors and can be omitted.
- Black Pepper– Some think pepper is sinful in this dish, but I like it. Make sure it is freshly ground to get the full benefit.
- Lettuce Leaves– optionally, you can line your bun with lettuce.
You can certainly buy lobster tails and just steam them and then chop. Better yet, you can get the fish monger (or meat counter guy) to steam them for you.
Or you can go the cheaper route, which is to steam a whole lobster yourself. But now you need to know how to pick the meat.
How to Remove Meat From a Lobster
Before you get started making your lobster salad, know that there will be water and there will be mess. Have some paper towels ready and be in a work space that can stand to get a little dirty, like a large cutting board. You can steam your own or get a cooked lobster at the store.
ONE. Twist off large claws, set aside.
TWO. Twist off the tail. It should remove easily with just a little wrist action- no special tools needed. You now have 4 large pieces- the body, tail and two claws.
THREE. I like to start with the tail because this is the largest piece of whole meat. Place the tail with bottom side down, smooth, pretty side up. Using both hands, squish the bottom, thinner shell together.
It will collapse easily and the top of the shell should easily remove from the meat leaving you will a whole piece of tail meat. If you notice a lot of black- that is the intestine and can be removed.
FOUR. Next, the claws, because they also carry a good amount of meat. (Perfect for lobster salad!) Wiggle smaller hinged portion of each claw to separate. It usually comes out with a tendon and sometimes meat.
Break open claws using a cracking tool, cracking 1 side and then flipping them to crack other side, and remove meat. You might need to use a pick, skewer or fork to get smaller pieces.
FIVE. Now, the legs. The least amount of meat is in the legs and some folks don’t even bother, but real lobster lovers leave no meat behind. The larger legs that were attached to the claws have the most bang for your buck, so start there.
Break open each knuckle and wiggle out as much meat as you can, poking through with a skewer or seafood fork. If you are at home, you can roll smaller legs with a rolling pins and the meat will push out the end.
SIX. Lastly, the body. Many will toss the body aside and I don’t blame you. Sometimes you’ll hit the jackpot and other times you’ll get nothing. The body is also great to keep if you plan to make a seafood stock.
This is kind of like picking blue crabs. You should avoid the feathery looking pieces on the side, these are the lungs and inedible. Look between the little cartilage lined pieces on the side and you might find pockets of meat.
Healthy Lobster Salad
Lobster salad in inherently low carb already, but if you are looking to slash calories and fat, not just carbs, there are other options.
The first is to swap out the mayonnaise. Low fat plain Greek yogurt is a great option. It is thicker than regular yogurt and has a slightly tart taste.
Mashed avocado is another great sub but will result in a green lobster salad.
Lastly, any combination of mayo, yogurt or avocado will work. You can also serve your lobster salad in avocado halves or spooned out tomatoes with fresh greens.
More recipes that use lobster:
Cold Lobster Salad
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Kosher salt, black pepper and chives.
- When smooth, toss with chopped lobster meat.
- Cover and chill for at last 1 hour before serving.
- Serve over leafy greens, avocado halves or tomato halves.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings section.