Lobster flambéed under a layer of dry pine needles

Églade is this specialty from the French Western coast islands of Oléron and Ré where mussels are flambéed under a bed of pine needles. When I got those lobsters, I had the crazy idea of cooking them the same way. After having checked that a Michelin-starred chef from Ré used to cook lobsters with pine needles, without giving his exact recipe, I came to the conclusion that it was not that crazy and I decided to do it the same way I have been practicing for 40 years with mussels.

I have cooked lobsters in many different ways, grilled, stewed, poached, cold, raw… but this églade* is definitely one of my favorite ways, if no more. I wonder why I had not thought of it earlier. The outcome was just fantastic. Don’t pay attention to the burnt shells on the pictures as they totally protected the meat inside, acting like a papillote so to say. The lobster meat cooked in its shell remains moist, keeps all its flavors while taking some smokey notes and sap flavors… Encore!!!

The process that I followed is detailed below. Please note that cooking the lobsters is a very rapid process, calling for very short times of preparation and cooking part. The longest part is the normal time spent to make the bisque…

* To be noted that églade applies, as far as I know, exclusively to mussels cooked under pine needles. That said, the term églade or éclade (you can say both, églade in Oléron and éclade in Ré… You know now where I spent my vacation summer for half a century) comes from aiguille (de pin) meaning (pine) needle. So, nothing prevents me from emplying it with another ingredient than mussel!

Levels of difficulty








5 minutes

+ 30 minutes for the bisque


5 minutes

+ 15 minutes for the bisque

Ingredients 2 servings


§  2 1.5 lb. live lobsters

§  1 handful (broth) + 1 armful (flambée) of dry pine needles, preferably from the stone or maritime pine trees

§  1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter

§  1 shallot clove, chopped

§  1 (or 2) shot(s) of Cognac

§  1 tbsp of tomato paste

§  1 tsp of achiote

§  1 tbsp of butter (for the bisque)

§  Fleur de sel (or sea salt)

§  Piment d’Espelette (or pepper)

§  A handful of pine nuts, toasted 



§  Put to boil a large pot of water in which you will let infuse a handful of pine needles, lid on

§  Plunge the two lobsters, head and claws first, for two minutes maximum in the pine needle-infused boiling water. Remove the lobsters from the water and preciously keep this “broth”

§  Stick a wood skewer in each lobster to keep them straight (another possibility is to attach the tail with the head to keep the lobster flat)

§  Put the lobsters on a raw, non-treated wood board and cover them with the armful of pine needles, so that they are totally covered, in particular the claws that are the longer to cook. In this respect, the best way is to use you barbecue grill with a plaque or a plancha underneath your board. As a security, spread some water around your grill

§  Inflame the needles with a lighter or a kitchen torch and let burn and consume till there are practically no embers

§  Separate the heads, the legs, the claws/elbows and the tails, and reserve these two

§  Scratch out with a spoon or your index the tamale and (possible) coral inside the head and reserve them. Remove the sandbag and the gills.

§  Put the legs and the whole heads in a pan and crush them with a pestle or a similar tool

§  Add the oil/butter and the shallot, put the burner on high, stirring the shells vigorously and cook for a couple minutes, without burning the shallots

§  Deglaze with the Cognac and flambé

§  Add 2 ladles of the pine needle broth and put to boil for 10/15 minutes

§  Pour the whole (broth and shells) in a high speed blender and mix for 1 minute till obtaining a smooth texture, like for a bisque

§  Strain the bisque, pitch the shell “paste”, and put the strained bisque to cook in a pan

§  Add the tamale/coral, the tomato paste, the achiote, and a little bit of salt and piment/pepper in the bisque and put it to boil while stirring it regularly

§  Let simmer till the bisque reduces and thickens

§  When the bisque is thick enough, adjust the seasoning, add the remaining butter, and keep it hot

§  Shell carefully the tails and the claws, and if need be, steam them above the remaining pine needle broth (with the potatoes served as a side for instance, see below) to heat them up

§  Serve the whole, i.e. the shelled tail, the claws/elbows and your sides* together and spread around the bisque

§  Spread the pine nuts over the plates


* Here for the sides, I just steamed baby potatoes (potatoes are definitely my favorite side for lobster) and baby turnips that I sticked on short skewers



  1. Hi,

    This comment is not related to your post but my husband and I have been on the look for a source of good Emmentaler Swiss cheese online. Do you know of any sourcdes?? Thank you ver much and sorry for disrupting your wonderful blog

    Kind regards

    Lourdes Sánchez

  2. Hi Lourdes - I am missing you and your always meaningful posts on NEOF - Here is where I bought my cheeses when I want quality : https://www.formaggiokitchen.com/cheese - They currently don't have Emmenthal (it may depends on their arrivals), but they have Swiss gruyères, and their Beaufort and Comté are to die for, among others...


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