Boiled Lobster with Marjoram and Parsley Sauce

Astice con Salsa di Maggiorana

This is a typical New England specialty served in an unmistakably Italian way. A tip I learned from Maine lobster fishermen is to cook lobsters in very salty water, in essence recreating their tradition of cooking them in sea water.

Total time: 30 minutes


  • Salt
  • 4 live Maine lobsters, about pounds each
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 to 8 sprigs flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Put at least 8 quarts water in a large, wide pot that will accommodate the lobsters, place over high heat, and bring to a boil. (If you do not have a large enough pot, use two pots.) Add at least ¼ cup salt to the water and put in the lobsters. Cook them 12 minutes per pound (18 minutes for -pound lobsters), then take them out of the pot.
  2. While the lobsters are cooking, make the sauce. Put the lemon juice with 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Mix together thoroughly with a small whisk or fork until the salt is dissolved. Chop enough of the parsley leaves to measure 2 tablespoons and enough of the marjoram leaves to measure 2 teaspoons. Add the herbs to the bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Divide the sauce among 4 dipping bowls and serve with the lobsters.