Tempura Fried Maine Lobster with Chive Aioli, Chiles, and Dried Lime

By: Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos, Chicago

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Jimmy Papadopoulos is Chef/Partner at Bellemore in Chicago.

Serves 2.


1 Maine Lobster, live
1 gallon water
4 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

3/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup corn starch
12 oz seltzer / sparkling water (kept ice cold!)
1 egg white (whipped to stiff peaks)
1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup canola oil
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon, mustard
2 oz water
2 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chives, minced fine

to taste, Maldon sea salt
to garnish, dried black lime powder
to garnish, basil buds
to garnish, chives, minced fine
to garnish, piment d’Esplette
to garnish, lime, zest


Bring the water to a full boil – add the salt, vinegar, lobster & turn the heat off.

Set a timer for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes is up, remove the tail and place in ice-bath to fully cool.

Leave the claws in the hot water for an additional 4 minutes.

Transfer to an ice-bath.

Remove meat from shells – split tails lengthwise, separate knuckles from claws.

Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Combine egg yolk, Dijon, water, garlic & salt in the base of a food processor – with the motor running, gently and slowly stream in the oil until an emulsification is formed – and slightly increase the rate of which you are pouring the oil – half way through the oil add the chives in so that they blend into the emulsification.

Once the oil is fully incorporated and your aioli is thick, add the lemon juice and turn the motor off. Taste, and adjust seasoning with some more salt if desired. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Combine rice flour, cornstarch & salt in a metal mixing bowl set over a bowl of ice.

Gently and quickly whisk in enough seltzer water to make a batter that holds its shape very similar to a pancake batter.

Gently fold in the whipped egg white.

*The batter will only hold for about 1-2 hours maximum before the carbonation dies off.

*Make the batter as close to frying as possible – keep ice cold.

Lightly season lobster meat with kosher salt – allow to rest on paper towels for 10 minutes until the salt has absorbed into the Maine Lobster.

Heat canola oil to 365*F.

Gently coat lobster in the tempura batter and fry 3 minutes until the lobster is just cooked through and the batter is light and crisp.

Drain on paper towels – lightly dust with the dried black lime powder.

Spoon aioli into a ramekin, shower with pigment d’Esplette, chives, basil buds and lime zest.

Arrange fried lobster on a plate with aioli and serve.