Grilled Caribbean Rock Lobster Cakes Recipe

Staff Writer
Grilled Caribbean Rock Lobster Cakes Recipe
Grilled Nectarines

St. John chef Mathayom Vacharat uses local spiny lobster in this dish that he served at the St. Croix Food & Wine Experience

Deliver Ingredients


For the annatto seed oil:

  • 1 tablespoon annatto oil
  • 8 ounces blended oil (75% olive, 25% vegetable)

For the lobster cakes:

  • 32 ounces lobster tails (including shell weight)
  • Salt
  • Oil, for cooking

Fresh ground pepper:

  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs

For the lime vinaigrette:

  • 6 limes
  • 1 tablespoon grain mustard
  • 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces baby arugula, for garnish


For the annatto oil:

Place annatto seeds and 3 ounces of oil in a sauce pot and simmer over very low heat until oil takes on the bright hue of the seeds, about 40 minutes. Strain seeds and cool oil.

For the lobster cakes:

Remove tails from lobsters, split them down the middle and lightly oil and season the flesh side with salt and pepper. Grill flesh side down on high heat for 60-90 seconds, or until marked and the outside of the meat has turned from translucent to white. Remove from heat and let them rest, about 5 minutes or until cool.

Loosen the meat from the shells, but don't remove them (keeping them in the shell retains moisture.) Continue grilling the lobsters, starting shell side down about 90 seconds. The meat will begin to puff up out of the shell and the shell will begin to turn orange. Flip the tails once more onto their flesh side and finish the grilling process, about 60 seconds. You want the meat slightly translucent in the middle, looking about medium. Remove from heat and let them rest again.

When cool, remove the meat from the tails and cut them into about ½-inch square chunks. Toss into a mixing bowl with ½ cup of the parsley, the mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of the mustard, red pepper, red onion, salt, and pepper to taste.

Toss lightly by hand using your finger tips so as not to tear the meat too much. Slowly add the panko until the mixture begins to tighten up but is still moist. Remember that the panko will continue to absorb more moisture over time, so go easy at first. You can always add more if needed. Let the mixture rest, allowing flavors and textures to marry, about 15 minutes to 12 hours in the refrigerator. Reserve some breadcrumbs for crusting the cakes.

For the lime vinaigrette:

Juice all the limes, add the mustard and parsley, honey, and shallot. Mix together thoroughly, then slowly add about 3 ounces of the oil, whisking the whole time. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Take about a meatball-sized handful of batter and gently press the air out of it. Place it on your board and slightly press the cake into shape, using the side of your pinky to form the wall. Flip the patty over and flatten the other side with the board. They should be about ¾-inch tall and 3 inches wide. Place cakes in the refrigerator to let them set up, at least an hour.

When ready to serve, heat about ¼ inch of oil over medium heat in a non-stick pan. Take each cake and press gently into some panko to form a crust on the flat sides. Place into the hot oil, making sure you have plenty of space in between each cake to be able to flip and maneuver, as you can keep them warm in a low oven. Cook about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and warmed through.

On a plate, place cake on top of nest of arugula. Drizzle with lime vinaigrette and a spoonful of annatto oil on the side.

Grill Shopping Tip

Think twice before buying a thicker piece of meat; a 2-inch thick steak takes four times (not twice) as long as 1-inch thick steak to cook.

Grill Cooking Tip

If you're cooking something that's been marinated, make sure to pat the item dry before it hits the grill. Any sugar in the marinade will burn.