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Chicken Fried Lobster With Lobster Gravy

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ready in: 1-2 hrs
serves/makes:   4

recipe id: 84075
cook method: deep fryer, stovetop

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4 live lobsters (1 1/2 pound size)
distilled white vinegar
1 lemon
2 cups batter mix (brand of your choice or homemade)
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Lobster Gravy

1/4 cup olive oil
4 lobster bodies
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup white wine
1 quart heavy cream


Set a large pot of water to boiling. The pot should be big enough to comfortably hold the lobsters. If not, they can be cooked in batches. Add a cup of white distilled vinegar per gallon of water.

Plunge the live lobsters into the water and cook for exactly 2 minutes.

Remove the lobsters from the water. Remove the claws from the lobsters, and put them back in the pot to cook for exactly 5 more minutes. Remove the claws and allow them to cool enough to handle comfortably. Remove the tails from the bodies by twisting and pulling them off in one piece.

Split the tails lengthwise; remove the intestinal veins. Remove the meat from the claws and knuckles, being careful to keep the claws in one piece. Be sure the large piece of cartilage is removed from the claws. Remove the outer body shell from half of the bodies, and split in half along the back. Save these for garnish. Remove the stomach sac from the body and discard it, but save all the bodies and shells for the lobster gravy.

The lobster meat can now be placed in a bowl and refrigerated while you prepare the sauce. (If you are preparing this dish in advance, this is the stopping point.)

To make the gravy: In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil. Add lobster bodies, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf and thyme.

Cook over medium-high heat, until the lobster turns bright red, and the vegetables are soft, but not browned. This will take about 5 minutes, during which time you should be constantly stirring, and vigorously smashing the lobster with a heavy spoon to extract the maximum flavor.

Add the brandy and ignite. When the flames die out, add the white wine, and reduce to about one third its original volume.

Add the cream and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in the tomato paste. Simmer gently until the sauce thickens somewhat, maybe 30 minutes or so depending on the heat of your burners. It's better to go slow to avoid boiling over or burning the sauce.

Once the sauce is thickened, strain it into a clean sauce pan. Add salt to taste, tarragon, parsley and a pinch of cayenne.

If you are not using the sauce right away, transfer it to a container, cool it down, then cover and refrigerate. The lobster gravy can be made a day ahead.

Heat (or reheat) about 3 ounces per serving of the lobster gravy in a small saucepan, add the knuckle meat, and keep warm.

The actual frying of the lobster is very quick and needs to be done at the last minute, so be sure to have everything else ready to serve.

To fry the lobster: Heat the frying oil to 375 degrees F.

Combine the batter mix and cayenne in a bowl. Add water to obtain a medium-thin batter. The batter should stick to the lobster easily without being too thick.

Dip the lobster tail and claw pieces in the batter and drop immediately (but gently) into the oil. Do not overload the fryer or the temperature will drop too much and the batter will be soggy. It's better to fry in batches; place the cooked pieces on a paper towel on a pan and keep them in a warm oven for the few minutes it takes to complete the frying.

Place the lobster pieces on large serving plates, with mashed potatoes, if desired. Ladle the sauce, with the chunks of knuckle meat right on the potatoes.

Decorate with the reserved lobster body shell. Serve potatoes, cole slaw and lemon wedges on the side.

Recipe Source: Chef John Philcox, Cafe Zelda, Newport, RI

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Nutritional data has not been calculated yet.

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