Nobu’s Lobster Carpaccio

Below is a slideshow of how I got my “money shot” for the Nobu’s Lobster Carpaccio dish. The first shot is the money shot – are you interested on all the other shots that led up to my favorite photo? Which one is your favorite photo?

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This recipe is from chef Nobu Matsuhisa, a man whom I respect so much but damn, I can’t afford to eat at his restaurant in Los Angeles! When I was in college at UCLA, I had to drop out for a semester just to afford a meal there. And to think…all the learning that I could have had that extra semester in school I could have probably gone to graduate school, earned a piece of paper that says “MBA,” then gotten a fancy job somewhere in a big tall building with $3,000 expresso machines. THEN after 25 years of climbing the stupid ladder working 80 hour weeks, I’d retire with a ‘do of grey hair, stressed to the hilt and finally have time to stay home and pursue my passions….

which is cook, eat and blog.


Lobster Carpaccio Cooking Tip

What I love about this recipe is that the lobster is actually flash-cooked in a mixture of super-hot olive oil and sesame oil. Instead of putting the lobster into a hot pan…hot oil is POURED on top of the lobster.

This ensures that the delicate lobster slices gets just a barely-there sear. More importantly, the chive/ginger topping gets flash-fried, releasing its flavors. This is the same technique that I use for my Chinese Steamed Fish Recipe Chinese Steamed Fish Recipe

Oh but wait….I think I need to explain something else…..

If you’re vegan or a member of PETA, just stop reading.

I bought a live lobster…and in order to kill it and to make it easier to extract the meat, I froze the lobster for 20 minutes to make it go nighty-night. Then I boiled the lobster for just 30 seconds and immediately plunged it into ice water. This will help you get the meat out without cooking the lobster.

The sizzling hot oil is a technique that Nobu loves to use – it really does release the flavors of the herbs and the lobster. Plus for all the sushi/sashimi scaredy cats, this is a great way to introduce raw fish!

Nobu’s Lobster Carpaccio

Adapted from nobu-west cookbook Nobu West Cookbook

2 pound live lobster
1 tablespoon finely shredded ginger
1 tablespoon Yuzu Dressing (see below)
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Put the lobster in the freezer for 20 minutes, so it goes into a deep sleep and won’t be aware of the next stage.

2. Bring a pot of salted water large enough to cover the lobster to boil in. Plunge the lobster headfirst into the water for 30 seconds, remove and plunge into a bowl of ice water to cool.

3. Remove the tail and claws from body and use kitchen shears to cut open the shell of the body. Gently extract the tail and claw meat. Slice the tail meat into medallions about 1/4 inch thick or less. Cut the claw met into 1/4 inch thick slices.

4. Place the lobster meat onto a serving plate. Drizzle the Yuzu Dressing on top. Garnish with the ginger and the chives.

5. Heat a small pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and the sesame oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, pour the oil all over the lobster to sear the top.

For the Yuzu Dressing
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon yuzu juice (substitute with combination of orange and lime juice)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 clove garlic, grated (or very finely minced)
6 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral flavored oil)

To make the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together.

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Comments 26

  1. Slamson

    Cool slideshow for us process junkies. I do a bit of amateur photography (nature), so I’ll weigh in that #7 is my fave, followed by #9. Love the cascading oil! I see why you went low for the money shot, though.

  2. carly

    I am just wondering if the boiling is used for some texture purpose? From what I understand, you can kill a lobster instantly by inserting a sharp knife right behind it’s “head”, and vertically cutting through. That way you have a fresh, cleanly and humanely killed lobster, but without any cooking.

    ah. i forgot to explain…i’ll edit the post ~j

  3. Chandara

    OMG! I just want to scrape this off my computer screen and grub! These are simply beautiful shots of the lobster…I need to invest in good lighting:)

  4. Esi

    Oh my GAWD!! Nobu is one of my most favorite restaurants. I didn’t have to drop out of school to eat there, just give up food for a couple months after πŸ˜‰

  5. justM

    Ooh Jaden, nice shots and they look oh so yummy ….Hmm…I really need to buy a lobster!! Besides the money shot, picture #7 is also my favorite

  6. Rick

    Nice Nobu’s dish! There’s actually a Nobu’s restaurant 10 walk away from my condo in Waikiki, but I also don’t feel like working dinner there into my budget. Maybe one of these days.

  7. Carrie

    VERY nice photo essay. I love your money shot and also really loved the hot oil action shot. I’m brand-spankin’-new into food photography so this was really informative. Did you learn by trial and error, read a book, take a class? Your equipment must be really good too. Oh, and I want to eat the lobster right off the screen!

  8. Katrina

    Beautiful! Love the way you described your process – you mentioned ginger – did you shred fresh ginger root? Boy this is just gorgeous – love the hot oil shot! Very helpful to us newbies, and thanks!

    Yes, I used vegetable peeler to peel thin strips then a knife to slice super-thin

  9. Veron

    So this is what you did with the lobster..looks delicious! I remember the first time the hubby processed a lobster, he was shell-shocked…

  10. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    Such a descriptive photo progression towards your “money shot”. Personally I think all of them are good “money shots”, but I agree the cooked lobster looks a bit weird when some of it is cooked while some parts are not.

  11. Kate

    I love Nobu. The first time I went (in NYC) it was on someone else’s expense account and it was heaven. I still dream about the toro tartare with wasabi and caviar, or the spicy creamy crab. This looks fantastic too — I bet the texture is divine.

    Expense Account!? woohoo! that’s the way to go! ~j

  12. Karen MEG

    Jaden, amazing photography and that dish looks absolutely stunning and delish! I’ve always wanted to go to Nobu.

    You are too, too funny!

    You going to BlogHer in Chicago? Hope so.

    yes! I’m going! ~j

  13. Dawn in CA

    Oh man, that looks delicious. Something to celebrate? Not that you need a reason, lobster carpaccio is a celebration in itself. πŸ™‚

  14. Carolyn Jung

    Nobu is the bomb! I wish I could eat there all the time, too. Uh, think I need to win the Lotto to do that. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

    Yeah…ALWAYS dream big! Well, big bucks! ~j

  15. Tina

    ooh! looks soo delicious!! As for the pics, love the money shot, also like pic 2 & 7. I have dreamt of eating at Nobu, hopefully, it will come true in a couple of year, lol πŸ™‚

  16. Alex

    As a photographer I would definately agree that the ‘money shot’ is your best – but I would consider burning in the right a little and bringing the dish down about 10-20% of the frame.
    Still pretty awesome looking.

  17. Heidi

    I am so naive I thought he was only in Aspen! I have a picture of us before dinner there with the hot waiters (in black) on my about page. The best seafood ever, especially if someone else is buying! πŸ™‚ Gorgeous photos of the lobster!

  18. Lolit

    I’m so envious! I don’t understand how some people can cook so well and no matter how hard I try, I can’t cook. I mean I can cook but I can’t even enjoy my cooking myself. πŸ™

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