HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Sides for steamed lobster?

I've never cooked lobster before but I'm planning on serving it tonight, basic-style (boiled in salted water with clarified butter). I'd love some ideas on what to serve alongside it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I steam my lobster in 1/2" of water, and put in two cans of beer. I bring to a boil, put in the lobster, cover for 12-15 min. (I know you didn't ask ;) ).

    I usually serve fresh corn on the cob and baked potato.
    And always a nice salad. Simple and fresh.

    Someone once told me, that if you dip the lobster it tastes like butter, but if you eat it without, you taste the lobster.

    Have fun.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mcel215

      Thanks for suggestions. Have not heard of beer method - what does this do? I should have been more specific, though - it's supposed to be a romantic dinner to soothe a freaked out boyfriend who just started grad school. Is there something "fancier" than corn & potato?

      1. re: frenetica

        Remember the scene in Tom Jones? I think the lobster itself is both sufficiently fancy and romantic. I wouldn't do anything that would detract from it. IMHO, corn and baked potato is right on!

        What I *don't* think is right on is cooking it for 15 minutes. Of course, it depends on the size of your lobsters. I'm a firm believer that 8 minutes for the first pound and 2 minutes for each pound thereafter (total cooking time; not that amount of time for each lobster) is just about right. But then, I think most people overcook lobster.

        Another thought: the lobsters really shouldn't be "boiled." Once the lobsters have been put in the pot, let the water return to a boil and then turn down the heat so the lobsters poach. Again, IMHO, boiling lobsters can toughen the meat; poaching gives the texture one is looking for.

        1. re: JoanN

          mcel215 gave cooking times for STEAMED lobster. I would agree with about 12 minutes for a 1.25 lb lobster. If you're BOILING the lobster, 9-10 minutes for the same weight sounds right.

          Personally I much prefer to steam lobsters, they come out tender and flavorful.

          1. re: cheryl_h

            "Personally I much prefer to steam lobsters"

            I completely agree with you on that. Why let all those juices escape into water that's going to be thrown out? But my timing is the same. Steamed or boiled, I still cook for 8 minutes for the first pound, 2 minutes each additional pound.

    2. A nice potato salad would be lovely. That's what we have.

      Or go crazy and extravagant and serve it with a risotto milanese!


      1. Simpler the sides the better. I think some really good potato chips like Kettle and a slice of blueberry pie is perfect. Okay some sliced tomato if you must.

        1. A California Chardonnay.

          1. Asparagus -- also to be eaten with fingers and dipped in butter (I like it grilled or roasted).

            1 Reply
            1. corn on the cob, and red potatoes, lots of butter...

              I steam crabs/lobster over boiling them anyday...

              with crab legs I steam the corn, potatoes, and some cut up Kilbasa in with them, and of course Old Bay....

              1 Reply
              1. re: swsidejim

                I agree...corn on the cob, red potatos go perfect with boild lobster as does a nice cold beer.

              2. I like my lobster with a bit of soya sauce and lime juice mixed, although butter is also good.
                Home-baked ( or good bakery) bread with butter is essential and potato salad would be good (easy to control on a plate that might get pretty damp, slippery and full of shell fragments).

                Are you shelling it for him? I always thnk that part of the charm of lobster is the way you have to wallow in it -- the simpler the service the better. We use newspapers on the table, a hammer if we must, and a couple of old table knives to dismantle the thing.
                As for when it's done -- I was always told that when you could smell it it was done, and that won't take long for a couple of lobsters -- I'd lean more towards the 8 minutes, or even less.

                1. Whatever sides you choose (and I cast my vote with the corn/red potatoes/salad crowd), you can fancy things up a bit by putting some sherry in your drawn butter. I agree it's good not to soak the lobster in butter, but a partial dip brings out the flavor instead of hiding it, IMO.

                  1. In general, I think simpler is better with lobster. I usually don't have room for lots of sides because the lobster fills me up. We usually serve corn (in season) and (home made) cole slaw. One of the lobster pounds we have been to offers baked beans as a side, though I don't ever choose them (not my favorite food).

                    1. I second the corn and potatoes!

                      1. Chowhounders, much as I love potatoes and corn on the cob -- and you all -- I was really hoping for something a little more...dare I say...creative? Something delicate that brings out the lobster flavour really well, or something nice and rich to pair it with? Come on guys.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: frenetica

                          Food doesn't get much better than great mashed potatoes, IMO.

                          Maybe try a delicate corn salad with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, if the corn on the cob is too pedestrian.

                          1. re: MuppetGrrl

                            I love mashed too but they can induce food coma!!

                          2. re: frenetica

                            One of my favorite meals of all time is a chilled cracked crab and a steamed artichoke, both served with a mayonnaise/dijon dipping sauce.

                            I've never had the combo with lobster rather than the crab, but I bet it would work just as well.

                            If you really want to go fancy/exotic with the lobster, I'd suggest you consult your Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking, where there's a recipe for lobster thermador and appropriate accompaniments. I'm posting from work, and so I can't recall off the top of my head what it says, but I know it's in there.

                            Another favorite way to eat lobster in my house is Baja-style -- with beans and salsa, on corn tortillas -- the way you get them in the Puerto Nuevo/Ensenada area of Baja California. Yum!

                            1. re: frenetica

                              Being from Boston, lobster is not a dish I overpower. Lobster is the "main" deal. And give your guy a nice cold beer(or two) with his dinner. Trust me, and fill up your guy with extra lobster and he will be ever so greatful. :)

                            2. If you are each having your entire lobster on your plate & dismantling it, then I suggest keeping with the "hands on" sensual theme, and doing the kind of caesar salad with the whole romaine leaves that you eat w/ hands, and warm fresh baked bread that you pull apart as you go and use to sop up the lobster juices, butter, and salad dressing. If you are going to do this a "presented" lobster w/ the tail and claws already shelled and arranged on the plate, then I think you can go w/ whatever bf really likes or considers special. Lobster can stand up to alot.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: torty

                                Keeping with the "hands on" theme- I would definitely add steamers ( clams) to the menu. Quickly steam, and serve with the steamiog broth for rinsing any leftover sand, and with drawn butter and lemon.

                              2. If you want something rich, the October Gourmet Magazine has a recipe for Lobster Cantonese that looks scrumptious. Prolly you can google around epi or foodtv for some elaborate preparations. Corn and red potatoes are classic, but lobster used to be considered a trash fish and only poor people ate it.

                                I don't find lobster to be delicate, it can stand up to really bold or spicy flavors. Maybe you could make a lemon risotto or some other complimentary risotto if you want to stay delicate.

                                I happen to be making lobster tonight too, since I have just received 3 live ones as a gift from livelob.com

                                It came with clam chowder and filet mignons, so I will likely only add a little asparagus I have on hand. If I get more energy I will make a rich butterscotch pudding for dessert.

                                1. I am serving steamed lobster this evening. I've decided that I don't want to distract from the physical experience of tearing into a lobster so I'm going with a first course instead. I've made a pureed Potato Leek soup. After reading these posts I'm inspired to add some fresh corn kernels to the soup. BTW, thanks for all of the tips on cooking the lobsters, I think I may try adding beer to the steaming water.

                                  1. I know this post is old, but I plan on serving my lobster with a creamy spinach risotto and button mushrooms sauteed w/shallots and white wine

                                    1. don't boil - Steam!! lemon wedges are good squirted over the meat too instead of butter!

                                      I like to serve corn on the cob, fresh rolls and a green salad with lobster. My favorite meal!

                                      1. Last night I had steamed lobster, corn on the cob and baked potato. After all these years, my answer would still be the same, lol!

                                        "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". ;) BTW, I now skip the salad....