Seafood boil with champagne, lobster and prawns

Adam Liaw
Forget an extravaganza. Serve up something homemade and heartfelt.
Forget an extravaganza. Serve up something homemade and heartfelt. Photo: William Meppem

My Valentine's Day advice: keep it simple. A big bucket of prawns, a nice bottle of wine, something sweet for dessert and, above all, good company. That's what it's about.


1 whole lobster (or 2 small lobster tails), intestine removed

1kg large Australian prawns, intestine removed

buttered white rolls and leaves of oak lettuce, to serve

Champagne boil

1 cup champagne or Australian sparkling wine

2 bay leaves

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp salt

1 star anise

1 brown onion, peeled and sliced into 1cm rounds

2 lemons, sliced into 1cm rounds

Dill mayonnaise

½ cup Japanese mayonnaise

2 tbsp sour cream

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill

1 tbsp lemon juice


Combine the ingredients for the champagne boil in a pot large enough to hold the lobster, bring to the boil and add the prawns. Top with enough boiling water to cover the prawns and boil until just cooked, about 3 minutes. Remove prawns with tongs and transfer to a tray of ice to cool. 

Place the lobster into the pot and top up again with boiling water, if necessary. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer the lobster for 15 minutes, then remove to a tray of ice to cool. Add more ice on top of the lobster and prawns to chill them faster.

For the dill mayonnaise, combine the ingredients and mix well. Serve the chilled lobster and prawns in a bucket with buttered white rolls and lettuce leaves, and the mayonnaise on the side. Oh, and with the remainder of the bottle of champagne, of course. 

For dessert? Adam Liaw's peaches and cream puffs

Tip: I prefer to boil shellfish myself as you can generally get a better texture and flavour than buying them already cooked, but in a pinch some cooked prawns and lobster artfully arranged in a bucket is a no-brainer.