It’s devilishly pleasing to use something as fancy as lobster meat in a common comfort food, but the real pleasure in this dish is the baja sauce. The mild spice and tang is the perfect sidekick to a delicately tasting food you’re trying to highlight.
Ten years ago, I would have spent Cinco de Mayo doing tequila shots. It wouldn’t have mattered if it was a weekday. This year I spent the holiday grilling lobster, making tacos, and passing out in a sated state on the couch with my boyfriend. Honestly? I prefer the tacos and hangouts.
We boiled the lobster a little before grilling, laughing about the last time I split a live lobster and started crying. I love the taste of grilled lobster, it has an added caramelized char flavor from its shell, but the trauma of my last lobster splitting memory prevents me from doing it with a completely raw fish.
Having all the fixings ready for making tacos is also a fun way to share food-making. The recipe below is for four, but this would be an easy recipe to multiply and serve as a larger, family style dinner party.
- 3lb of live lobster
- Squeeze of lemon
- 1 ancho pepper
- 3tbsp + 1tbsp tbso cilantro
- 1 tbsp + a squeeze lime juice
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 2 avocados
- 1/2 jalapeno (seeds removed)
- 1/2 lb tomato, chopped
- 1 oz red onion, finely chopped
- cotija or queso blanco cheese
Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the lobsters. Use the chart below to decipher how long to boil. The time is set by the size of one of your lobsters, not the weight of all of them combined. These are NOT the regular times for fully cooked lobsters, they are slightly less, because after boiling, you’ll split the lobster and grill the remainder of cooking time. To split the lobster, allow the fish to cool enough to handle. Then remove the claws and give each one crack with a lobster cracker. Remove the smaller legs, and use a rolling pin to push the meat out, set aside. Place the back of the lobster to the table and cut down the middle, starting at the top. Grill at medium high heat for a remaining time, meat side down.
|Lobster size||Boil Time||Grill Time|
|1 lb||6 mins||2 mins|
|1.25 lb||8 mins||2 mins|
|1.5 lb||10 mins||3 mins|
|1.75 lb||11 mins||4 mins|
|2 lb||13 mins||5 mins|
|2.5 lb||16 mins||5 mins|
|3 lb||20 mins||6 mins|
Throw the entire ancho pepper on the grill as well, and cook until the skin is blackened (about 4 minutes each side). Remove the lobster meat from the shells, chop roughly, drizzle a squeeze of lemon over them, and set aside.
Place the tortillas on the grill and toast on each side (1-2 minutes each side), then set aside. Once the pepper is cool enough to touch, remove the peeling skin off, remove the step and seeds, and place in a blender or food processor. Add the 3tbsp cilantro, 1 tbsp lime juice, sour cream, avocados, and jalapeno. Blend until fully integrated, but not watery. Set the baja sauce aside. Make the pico by mixing the chopped tomato, onion, remaining cilantro, and squeeze of lime. Set out all the ingredients on the table (along with the crumbled cheese!) and let your family plate their lobster tacos.