What on earth is "Lobster Sauce"?
May 12, 2008 4:10 AM   Subscribe

What is "lobster sauce" and do you have a good recipe for it?

When I go out to eat and see things like "pasta with lobster sauce" or, better, "lobster with pasta with lobster sauce", or still good, "Shrimp with risotto and lobster sauce", I will always order them, and pretty consistently, wipe the plate clean with any available bread.

Looking online has provided a few things that seem to resemble what I'm looking for, but many of them are so varied from one another that I suspect maybe there's a name for this sauce other than "lobster sauce".

The sauce I'm looking for is orange-ish in color, typically served with pasta and seafood, and almost always with chives on top. Typically seen in French restaurants or all sorts of fusion restaurants.

So! My questions are: What do you know about this sauce? Do you have any reliably good recipes for this sauce? What substitutions work and which do not (most importantly, is *lobster* a key ingredient in "lobster" sauce? I've seen some recipes involving shrimp shells or fish stock or what have you. Are these sillyness? (Not requiring lobster would mean I get to eat this way more often, which sounds good to me).
posted by sirion to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a special recipe, per se, but this seems about right for what you're looking for. Notice the pink comes from tomato paste, not the lobster itself.

If you're looking to save money, try Poor Man's Lobster. It's not lobster or pink sauce (which you could do with the above using the fish in the sauce instead of lobster shells, I guess), but it is quite tasty.

We usually wait until lobster is on sale, at certain times of the year. Often local restaurants will put it on special in February, so that's when I order it. Gone are the days when you could get lobster for $2 a lb. right off the boat.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:37 AM on May 12, 2008

I believe this sauce is a Marie Rose, commonly called 'seafood sauce', or occasionally 'cocktail sauce'.
Examples here, here and here.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:14 AM on May 12, 2008

If the sauce you're referring to has the taste of lobster, I think what you might be looking for is more of a lobster reduction. In a nutshell, just as great beef gravy is made by boiling beef bones, lobster sauce is made by boiling down the shells of a lobster.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:55 AM on May 12, 2008

Yeah, what you're talking about sounds like just an elaboration on white sauce, like Marie Mon Dieu links to - save shells and bodies in your freezer when you have lobster, make stock when you've got a bunch, and then you can make "lobster sauce" whenever you want, adding lobster meat to the dish if desired.

(If you're making risotto, you probably just want to make it with tomato paste, lobster stock, and wine, adding a bit of butter at the end - don't make a bunch of sauce and top it, ew.)
posted by peachfuzz at 6:20 AM on May 12, 2008

Marie Mon Dieu's first link is the correct answer. You might also augment that with some cream.
posted by briank at 6:29 AM on May 12, 2008

Restaurants that don't get large volumes of lobsters or buy lobster meat directly will start with a generic seafood stock (mostly shrimp and crab shells/bodies and some lean fish bones) and then reduce with lobster shell/body. It's kind of a hack lobster sauce gets the job done in a pinch and is of course, much cheaper.
posted by junesix at 12:49 PM on May 12, 2008

Seconding briank and Marie Mon Dieu's first link. The lobster itself doesn't really matter, just the shells, though you are unlikely to find lobster shells without the lobster. briank is also right about the cream, but a little will be plenty. And don't skip the brandy.
posted by farmdoggie at 7:02 PM on May 12, 2008

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