Lobster Salad with Grapefruit

Adapted from The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook by Patrick O’Connell

Serves: 4

Prep time: 1 and ½ hours


  • 4 – 1 and ½ pound lobsters

For the orzo:


  • 1 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 tablespoons browned butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt and white pepper

For the sautéed spinach:


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups washed and drained spinach leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the grapefruit butter sauce:


  • Juice of 4 pink grapefruit
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • pinch of salt

Liquid for rewarming the lobsters:


  • 1 quart water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup orange juice

For garnish:


  • 2 grapefruits, peeled, cut into section and pith removed
  • (Reserve several small pieces of the peel as additional garnish)

To cook fresh lobsters:


  1. Boil two inches of salted water in a large kettle.
  2. Pull off the lobsters’ claws and add them to the boiling water.
  3. Cook for one minute, then add the claws and cook another 8 minutes.
  4. Remove lobsters from kettle and plunge into ice water for a few minutes to stop their cooking.
  5. Remove lobsters from ice bath and using a mallet, crack claws and pull out tail and claw meat in whole pieces.
  6. Refrigerate lobster.
    Lobsters can be steamed, removed form their shells and kept in the fridge until ready to serve. Sauce can be made an hour ahead of time and kept warm in a double boiler, off the heat.
  7. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add orzo, cooking for five minutes or until al dente.
  8. Drain and transfer to a bowl, adding browned butter, oil and salt and pepper.
  9. To brown the butter, melt it in a heavy frying pan, stirring constantly until butter turns golden brown.
  10. Remove from heat and keep in a heat-proof bowl.
  11. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan at medium heat.
  12. Add spinach and toss in butter to cover spinach leaves.
  13. Add salt and set aside, keeping warm until serving.
  14. For the grapefruit sauce, combine grapefruit juice, cream and chicken stock in a heavy saucepan at medium heat, until it is syrupy. Whisk in butter, a tablespoon at a time, and season with salt and pepper.
  15. Keep warm until serving.
  16. In a large saucepan, simmer 1 quart of water with orange juice and butter.
  17. Put lobster meat into pan and warm for several minutes.
  18. Put a mound of the orzo on to the middle of each of the four plates.
  19. Distribute lobster meat over orzo, and garnish with grapefruit sections and sautéed spinach.
  20. Finally, spoon grapefruit sauce around the bottom of the plates.
    This is a classic recipe from a classic source: The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook.

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