Lobster is not the seafood that many people associate with heavy seasoning. The most popular of the luxury seafoods, lobster is often served only with butter so that the sweet flavor of the tail and claw meat can shine without help from herbs and spices. All that said, some spices can improve its flavor significantly. The best spices for lobster include:
You will see celery among the ingredients in lobster rolls. Celery is an essential ingredient in mayonnaise-based sandwich fillings like chicken salad, egg salad, and tuna salad. Lobster rolls are essentially just lobster salad sandwiches. Celery’s savory grassiness adds a little umami quality and enhances the lobster roll’s creamy filling while also giving it a little crunch.
You won’t see many savory recipes that use vanilla. One of the very few classic ones is lobster in vanilla sauce. The dish is called langouste a la vanille in the Comoros Islands where it is the national dish. This dish should be made with genuine Madagascar vanilla beans and not with vanilla extract if you want to get the authentic flavor.
The vanilla gives the rich cream and wine sauce a fragrant sweetness that is an excellent complement to the mildly flavored lobster.
The shallot belongs to the Allium family, which includes both onions and garlic. You will find elements of both onions and garlic in the shallot flavor profile. Those flavor elements make it an excellent complement for lobster. Shallots are used in traditional lobster dishes like lobster Thermidor and lobster in vanilla sauce.
Mustard is one of the essential seasonings in lobster Thermidor. It is also a key ingredient in mayonnaise, which is an essential part of the lobster roll. You will also see mustard seeds in recipes for grilled lobster tails.
The tanginess and mild heat from the spice help to enhance the mildness of lobster while also balancing out the richness of the creamy sauces and butter often used to cook the shellfish.
One of the main herbs of French cooking, tarragon is popular in seafood dishes including lobster. It offers a strong licorice note with hints of mint and eucalyptus that make it taste somewhat similar to anise.
You will see it used in classic lobster dishes like Thermidor and bisque where it helps to balance the heavy, cream-infused dish and complement the other seasonings.
While parsley is not the most flavorful herb around, it has a strong enough taste to enhance various lobster dishes including lobster rolls. It adds a mild green herbaceous note with a little bitterness. Along with enhancing the flavor, parsley is great for the look of the lobster roll since it adds some bright green for contrast with the pale mayonnaise.
A member of the mint family, thyme is a lot like tarragon in that it gets used heavily in numerous French dishes even though it is not the first herb that most Americans might associate with seafood. Most famously, you will see thyme used in lobster bisque but may also be used to make a compound butter that you can serve with a grilled lobster.
Thyme’s flavor includes notes of its relative mint as well as hints of clove and pine. You can use it fresh or dried but fresh thyme is considered the better of the two.