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Michael Leathley’s Christmas Cracker: Learn how to cook a delicious lobster dish for your festive feast

The head chef at The Pierhouse Hotel & Seafood Restaurant in Port Appin shares his recipe for poached lobster with saffron yogurt, pomegranate and burnt clementine salsa.

In a Christmas that’s destined to be a little bit smaller than usual, there’s an opportunity to venture away from the traditional and try something a little different.

While lobster might seem an ambitious dish to try to pull off, this recipe from Michael Leathley, head chef at The Pierhouse Hotel and Restaurant, sets out how to cook, prepare and serve in style.

It makes for a refreshing and luxurious dish with vibrant colours to celebrate the festive season, and is the latest in our series of Christmas Cracker recipes from chefs in Scotland.

Lobster recipe

Poached Lobster, Saffron Yogurt, Pomegranate & Burnt Clementine Salsa

Serves 2 (depending on the size of your lobster)


For the lobster:
  • A 500g lobster
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 rib of celery, halved
  • Handful of fresh thyme
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, including stalks
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 leek (white part only), split lengthways
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
For the saffron yoghurt:
  • Small pinch of saffron
  • 15ml warm water
  • 200ml natural yoghurt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 50ml olive oil
For the pomegranate and burnt clementine salsa:
  • 1 pomegranate, peeled and seeded
  • 4 clementine, peeled and segmented
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped


  1. Start off with your lobster. Add all of the ingredients to a large pot of cold salted water and bring to a hard boil. Let the aromatics infuse for 5 minutes making sure to top up the water level drops too low. Have a large bowl of iced water large enough to submerge the lobster set aside.
  2. Ensure your water is boiling and submerge your lobster headfirst into the pot and cover with the lid. A 500g lobster will require 8 to 10 minutes of cooking.
  3. Once cooked, plunge your lobster into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
  4. Once your lobster has cooled, break off the claws and split the shell lengthways, remove the corral and intestine and discard. Being careful to keep the main shell intact, remove the lobster meat from the tail and claws. Place in a container, season with a little olive oil and set aside.
  5. Next, move on to the saffron yoghurt. Infuse the saffron in the warm water for 5 minutes or until it has released a deep yellow colour into the water then combine with the rest of the ingredients and check for seasoning.
  6. Finally, move on to the salsa. Heat a dry pan and quickly char the outside of the clementine segments. Once they’re cool, chop into large chunks and combine with the other ingredients, saving some pomegranate seeds and coriander for garnish. Finish with lime juice and check for seasoning.
  7. To serve, dress the lobster with a little salsa and fill the two shell halves with the lobster meat. Drop a large spoonful of saffron yoghurt on top and garnish with pomegranate seeds and coriander. Serve the rest of the salsa and yoghurt on the side and enjoy!

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