Cedar-Plank Lobster with Grilled Corn & Shaved Fennel Salad

Été 2018
food and drink

BY: Michelle Rabin

Cedar planks are most often reserved for delicately cooking whole sides of fish on the barbecue. The rich, enticing aromas of cedar extrapolate beyond fish and make their way to lobster in this recipe. Sweet lobster meat gets infused with subtle smokiness as it cooks in a pool of lemony tarragon compound butter. Perfection alongside a salad of grilled summer sweet corn and shaved fennel.

4 ears of corn, shucked
4 lobsters, each 1 to 1½ lbs (455 to 680 g)
4 cedar planks, soaked as per manufacturer’s instructions
Lemon Tarragon Compound Butter (recipe follows)
1 head fennel, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
¼ cup (60 mL) thinly sliced scallion
2 tbsp (30 mL) tarragon leaves
½ cup (125 mL) parsley leaves
¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice
⅓ cup (80 mL) feta cheese

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large ice bath.

2. Boil the ears of corn until the kernels turn bright yellow, about 2 minutes. Immediately shock them in the prepared ice bath then set them aside.

3. Place 1 lobster in the boiling water and cover with lid. Cook until bright red and parcooked, about 5 minutes. Immediately shock in ice bath to completely cool. Repeat with remaining lobsters, boiling only 1 at a time.

4. Once lobsters have cooled, cut them in half lengthwise by placing the tip of a chef’s knife in the lobsters back and pushing the knife down to split the head. Turn the lobster around and cut through the tail. Remove any green, black or yellow bits from lobster leaving only the white flesh (This can be messy. A lot of liquid will be released from the lobster). Crack the lobsters claws with the back of your knife.

5. Set up your barbecue for indirect grilling by turning the outside 2 burners to medium and leaving the centre burner off. Grease the centre grates by pouring a little oil on paper towel and rubbing across the grill. Adjust heat to maintain a temperature between 325° and 350°F (160° and 180°C).

6. Place the cedar planks over direct heat until they are smoky, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pat the lobsters dry and season with salt. Smear about 2 tsp (10 mL) of compound butter on the flesh of each lobster.

7. Move the cedar planks over indirect heat. Place the lobsters on the cedar planks, cut-side up. Cook until lobster flesh is opaque and slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Keep warm under a foil tent while preparing salad.

8. Place the corn on the grill over direct heat; cook until charred, about 4 minutes, rotating often.

9. Cut the corn from the cob and place in a large bowl with fennel, scallions, tarragon, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Garnish with fennel fronds and feta cheese.

10. Melt remaining ¾ cup (175 mL) compound butter and use as dipping sauce. Serve lobster with corn and fennel salad and fresh or grilled lemons.

Serves 4


Tarragon is an underrated herb. It can be strong and overpowering, but when used correctly it can transform a recipe. The bright and subtle sweetness of this compound butter pairs beautifully with delicate lobster meat. It can also be used for chicken or simply smeared on a crusty piece of bread.

1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (125 mL) roughly chopped parsley
⅓ cup (80 mL) tarragon leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) freshly cracked pepper

1. Pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor until a smooth green butter forms.

Makes about 1 cup (250 mL)

What to Serve