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Maine Lobster with a Vanilla Beurre Blanc

Maine Lobster with a Vanilla Beurre Blanc

Over my 23 years at the Hartstone Inn, this was among the most popular items on my menus. Vanilla may seem like an unusual companion for lobster at first, but once you taste sweet and succulent Maine lobster with this sauce, you will fully appreciate how dramatic this matching can be.

Beurre Blanc is one of the most versatile sauces found on my menus. It goes well with many different types of food from pasta and vegetables to fish, shellfish and light meats such as veal and chicken. A traditional beurre blanc does not have cream in it, but the addition of cream to this recipe helps stabilize the sauce, and adds another depth of richness. The addition of various flavorings and garnishes can dramatically change the character of the sauce, as is the case with the vanilla here.

Maine Lobster with a Vanilla Beurre Blanc

Recipe by Michael SalmonCourse: EntreeCuisine: New England, FrenchDifficulty: Medium


Prep time




Cooking time




  • Four 1 1/2 pound live Maine lobsters

  • 2 medium-sized carrots

  • 16 medium-sized asparagus spears, pencil size

  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 pound dry angel hair pasta

  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives 

  • 1 batch Vanilla beurre blanc (recipe below)

  • Vanilla Beurre Blanc
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil

  • 1 small yellow onion

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1 small bay leaf

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1/ teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

  • Kosher salt and white pepper to taste


  • In a large 9-quart stockpot with lid, boil 2 inches of water. At the boil, add the lobsters, and replace the lid. Cook the lobsters covered for 10 minutes. Remove the lobsters from the pot and place on a pan to cool. Reserve the cooking liquid. When the lobsters are cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the knuckles, claws and tail (discarding the vein). Cut off the tail fin to use as a garnish. Place the meat and the tail fins on an ovenproof pan or plate with sides just large enough to hold the meat in a single layer. Add 1/8 cup of the reserved cooking liquid to the pan with the meat and cover with foil. Reserve.
  • Peel the carrots and use a mandoline fit with a very fine blade to get a very thin carrot shred (julienne). If you don’t have a mandoline, cut the carrots into 2 1/2-inch lengths, slice thinly (1/8 inch) lengthwise, stack a few slices and cut into long (1/8-inch) narrow strips. Remove the tough white lower sections from the asparagus spears. Peel the lower two to three inches of tough outer skin from the bottom of the asparagus. Blanch in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 1 minute and immediately place in a bowl of ice water to cool.
  • To serve, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the lobster (in prepared pans) in the oven for 20 minutes. Boil salted water in a large 4- or 5-quart saucepan for the pasta. Heat the carrots and asparagus in separate pans with 2 teaspoons of butter each. Season the vegetables with salt and white pepper. Add pasta to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute or until al dente. Strain the pasta well and place in a bowl. Add half of the Vanilla beurre blanc to the pasta and season with salt and white pepper. Cover to keep warm.  
  • Remove the lobster meat from the oven. Make a small nest of pasta in the center of the plate. Fan four asparagus spears on the bottom of the plate (representing the legs of the lobsters). Place a small amount of the shredded carrots on the top of the plate. 
  • To recreate the lobster, place the lobster tail on the pasta nest and fan out the reserved tail fin at the bottom of the tail. Place the knuckles (arm pieces) and claws on the plates, coming off the top part of the tail and pasta nest. Top the lobster meat with the remaining Vanilla beurre blanc and sprinkle with the chopped chives. Serve immediately.  
  • Vanilla Beurre Blanc
  • Dice the butter and bring to room temperature.  
  • Heat the oil in a small 2-quart saucepan. Chop the onions finely. Sauté the onions over medium heat for 2 minutes but do not allow them to brown. Deglaze with the white wine and vinegar. Add the bay leaf and reduce over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated. Again, do not brown. Add the heavy cream and reduce the mixture by half, whisking occasionally.   
  • Remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter until well incorporated. Add the scraped seeds (cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the tiny seeds with a paring knife) from the 1/2 vanilla bean. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl, discarding the solids. Season with salt and white pepper. Keep in a warm place (not too hot or it will break) until serving.

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