Do you love the clean, tempting taste of freshly caught, freshly prepared seafood? When it comes to our favorite maritime meals, there's no dish more delicious as both a delicacy and a down-home dinner than fresh lobster. From a plentiful shellfish used in abundance in the early days of America to a pricey, precious delicacy reserved for fancy dinners, the crustacean is an American classic we savor in so many ways — from candlelit dinners to backyard barbeques.
Freshly caught, live lobsters from clean, clear waters make the best meals, and while you can find this saltwater delicacy down the East coast from Newfoundland to North Carolina, the best and most abundant lobster supplies come from Maine, which boasts a $533 million annual lobster industry.
In fact, Maine topped all other states for the leading lobster catches in 2016 with 130 million pounds of crustaceans! Before being cooked, the majority of lobsters are a dark blue-green or brownish green color. However, in the cold, clean Maine waters, lobsterman have discovered rare yellow, red, blue and white breeds. All turn red when cooked, and all taste delicious!
If you're embarking on your own lobster cooking expedition for a special occasion or a family dinner, you're probably wondering how to prepare your meal and looking for spices that go well with lobster. You're in luck — as lobster lovers, we're here to inspire you. From classic seasoning for a lobster boil to more innovative ingredients and recipes to make your lobster tantalizingly tasty, here is everything you need to know about lobster spices.
What Herbs Go Well With Lobster?
Whether you're seasoning the meat directly or mixing a sauce to serve it with, here are some of the best spices to complement your lobster dishes:
- Bay Leaves: With a floral, slightly bitter taste and aroma similar to oregano or thyme, bay leaves have a notable flavor that works well to offset lobster's natural sweetness. Season your sauce or marinade with this Mediterranean spice for a fresh flavor that's not too hot.
- Basil: Both sweet and savory with just a touch of mintiness, basil is an aromatic, fresh herb that adds a Mediterranean touch of green flavor to your lobster. Best of all, it's versatile, so you can combine it with other flavors and maintain the delicate balance of the lobster's original flavor.
- Chives: With a delicate but marked flavor resembling onion, chives add a mild, delicious zing to your cream sauces or marinades for your lobster. They're also great for complementing simple butter sauces.
- Caraway Seeds: Sweet, aromatic and earthy, these little seeds pack a flavorful punch. A tiny bit of caraway goes a long way, so make sure to use a teaspoon or less in your lobster recipe to add the right amount of flavor without overloading the dish.
- Cayenne Pepper: Like a little spice with your lobster? The sweetness of lobster goes perfectly with spicy seasonings, and a touch of cayenne pepper can make your dish burst with flavor and a Southern style. Use this delicious red pepper sparingly to elevate your lobster to a new level.
- Dill: Similar to caraway, dill is lemony, sweet and slightly bitter with a touch of celery and anise in its flavor. Versatile and aromatic, it's a delicate choice for a fancy lobster dish.
- Lemongrass: Citrusy, minty and tangy without a lemon's signature bitterness, lemongrass is fresh, light and ideal for adding to lobster sauce, especially if you're cooking with an Asian-style influence or aim.
- Mint: Sharp and slightly sweet, mint cuts through the rich flavors you might use in your lobster sauce and adds a fresh, noticeable tang to your lobster meat. Use sparingly to make sure you don't overpower your lobster.
- Parsley: With a mildly bitter, earthy flavor, parsley is perfect for brightening dishes and balancing savory flavors. Whether you use it to season your meat or serve as your garnish, it complements your lobster nicely.
- Paprika: Playful and spicy, paprika is another choice for spicing up your lobster seasonings. Warm and peppery, it adds excitement and exotic flavor to your lobster when used in moderation.
- Thyme: With a subtle, dry, slightly minty flavor, thyme is a classic, fresh and flexible seasoning that serves to subtly enhance your lobster and gently bring out its best.
- Tarragon: Delicate, light, bittersweet and reminiscent of anise, tarragon is an aromatic and unique lobster spice you'll love. Stir it into your sauces to serve with your lobster for a French finish.
- Rosemary: Piney and sharp, rosemary is an earthy herb with an aromatic, distinctive flavor that will offset your mild, classic lobster dish nicely.
- Sage: Another classic choice for lobster spices, sage has an aromatic, astringent flavor that adds a touch of warmth to your dishes. Sage goes beautifully with a simple butter sauce.
When it comes to making that melt-in-your-mouth lobster dish with just the perfect seasoning to offset its natural goodness, a little green or savory spices go a long way. Not only does seasoning your lobster with bold, flavorful spices keep your recipe from being bland, but it gives your lobster dish its own unique taste to express your style, and you can add the spices you like best. Plus, since lobster is naturally sweet, adding some savory or spicy with herbs is a powerful culinary move.
Lobster is a seafood lover's dream. With a soft but firm consistency between flaky crab and chewy shrimp and a light, sweet flavor packed with moisture, fresh lobster never fails to make a mouthwatering meal.
What's the Lobster-Serving Occasion?
Whether it's lobster or another favorite dish, we all have our flavoring preferences — but sometimes, the spices you use and the way you want to prepare your lobster will depend more on the occasion and what tastes appropriate.
To help you out with picking the perfect spices for the lobster dinner you're hosting, here's your cheat sheet for four occasion-based lobster spice ideas.
1. Lobster Boil
When you're hosting a friend or family meal — or just putting dinner on the table — with a down-home lobster boil, you'll cook your simple shellfish dinner in a large pot, often with the addition of other ingredients like corn, potatoes, clams and sausage. For these comforting occasions and Maine-style lobster meals, you'll most likely want to choose some simple lobster spices. For mild tastes, try offsetting your lobster boil with a simple lemon and butter sauce, maybe tossing in some chives.
If you want to go a little spicier, try sprinkling your sauce or lobster with the slightest amount of paprika or cayenne pepper. Both options go wonderfully with cooked garlic and onions for a simple dinner with a comforting touch.
2. Lobster BBQ
Throwing a backyard barbeque complete with lobster? Barbequing is just the time to make things a little sweet and spicy, so break out the garlic powder, lemon and paprika for a lobster dinner with some kick! Tangy citrus and hot spices are an excellent choice for a flavorful indoor or outdoor lobster bake, and you can even make your own signature barbeque sauce to serve on the side. Spice it up!
3. Fine Dining
When you're hosting a fancy dinner on a special occasion, you're probably aiming for an upscale meal to impress your guests and cater to fine tastes — for upscale dining, it's best to keep your lobster spices delicate. If you want to stay simple, stick with a subtle lemon and butter sauce or garlic herb and butter sauce.
You might also want to try seasoning your lobster with a subtle blend of classic spices like sage, rosemary, thyme and parsley or complement your meal with a French-inspired tarragon marinade or cream sauce. Refined flavors like mint and basil also make tasty additions. Think upscale European dining for your fancy dinner flavor inspiration.
4. Summer Cookout
When you're kicking back and celebrating the summer with a friends-and-family-style cookout, choose your lobster spices to complement grilled meat and a summer spirit. A garlic parsley butter sauce is delectable when spread over freshly-grilled, steaming lobster meat for a mild but creamy taste — or choose a spicy citrus butter sauce for an especially summery touch. You can even serve your grilled lobster with a couple or a few simple but fresh sauces for your guests to choose from.
Lobster Seasoning Recipes for Your Flavor Profile
Need a little extra inspiration before you roll up your sleeves and dig into your lobster dinner prep? Here are some lobster seasoning recipes for four flavoring preferences to get you started.
If you're not that into spicy and prefer subtler flavors, it doesn't mean your lobster seasonings have to be dull! This White Wine Honey Garlic Butter Lobster will see to that. Here's what you'll need to prepare your sweet, mild seasoning for your lobster tails:
- 1/2 small white onion sliced into four wedges
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 6 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Saute your garlic, butter and white wine in a small pan, adding lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper and whisking until combined. Let simmer and reduce slightly, then remove from heat. Brush your exposed lobster tails with the sauce mixture, place an onion wedge between the meat and shell on each tail, and sprinkle with salt and pepper before broiling to your liking. Spread the cooked tails with the remaining sauce and serve topped with parsley for a savory treat. Keep some lemon wedges on the side if you want to squeeze on some extra tartness.
Like a little spice with your lobster? This Cajun-Style Garlic Lobster dish will satisfy your cravings. Here's how to prepare it:
- 6 tbsp. melted butter
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp. Old Bay
- 1/2 tsp. Cajun spice
Combine your garlic and butter and spread over the exposed meat of uncooked lobster tails. Squeeze your lemon juice over the tops of the lobsters and dust them with a hearty helping of your Cajun spice and Old Bay before broiling lobster meat to your liking. Your taste buds will be so happy.
3. Sweet and Spicy
Do you love the tantalizing balance of tang and spice in a sauce? Try this tempting Thai Coconut Spicy Lobster dish. Here's what you'll need:
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp. garlic
- 1 tsp. lemongrass paste
- 1 tbsp. hot chili sriracha sauce
- 1/4 cup sweetened toasted coconut
- 4 tbsp. melted butter
Combine your butter, sriracha, lemongrass paste, lemon juice and garlic in a bowl and slather your lobster tails with the mixture before grilling or baking. Spread the remaining butter sauce over your cooked lobster and sprinkle with toasted coconut for a sweet, spicy lobster meal you'll savor.
4. Herb and Butter
There's nothing more classic than a savory herb and butter sauce for your lobster meat. Here's how to make a traditional, tempting Herb Compound Butter Lobster dish:
- 1/2 lb. unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. chopped thyme
- 1 tsp. rosemary
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
Melt butter in a small saucepan and saute for about half a minute with garlic until fragrant, then transfer to a mixing bowl and combine with thyme, rosemary and black pepper until well mixed. Let cool until it begins to solidify, then roll the herbed butter in plastic wrap, shape into a log form and refrigerate until solid — or about two hours. When it's time to season your butterflied lobster tails, remove the butter from the fridge and brush the meat of each lobster tail with a tablespoon of your melted herb and butter compound before grilling and basting the tails to your preference.
Serve the cooked lobsters with a drizzle of the melted butter mixture and wedges of lemon for a little extra tang.
Order Fresh Lobster From Maine Lobster Now
When you're looking for the freshest, most flavorful lobster for trying out your new lobster spice recipes on your next cooking occasion, the best lobsters to prepare are live — and the best live lobsters come from Maine.
Delivering freshly caught, high-quality lobsters from the cold, clear waters of the Maine coast, Maine Lobster Now offers anyone — anywhere in the country — the opportunity to have the Maine culinary experience delivered straight to their door. We source our live lobsters from local fisherman who we've known and worked with for generations, giving you the best quality of lobster available and an authentic taste of the Maine seafood industry.
Our lobsters are sorted by hand and kept in state-of-the-art holding tanks to keep them in prime condition, then delivered live to ensure they're fantastically fresh and ready to cook when they arrive. Your wild-caught Maine lobsters will make your original lobster spiced meals taste fresh from the sea. Ready to savor the balance of lobster spices and sweet, fresh lobster meat in your homemade meals? Order the finest, freshest lobster today from Maine Lobster Now — we know you'll taste the difference.