Lobster & Leeks in Vinaigrette

Last Updated on September 17, 2023

Max Mackinnon is a New York City-based chef and sommelier. He’s recently been holding pop-ups for his latest venture Libertine, a new all day French bistro in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood that’s set to open in summer 2023. Mackinnon’s recipe for lobster and leeks in vinaigrette is based on the classic French dish, leeks vinaigrette. With its layers of flavor, it’s a recipe that will make you feel like a chef.

In Mackinnon’s version here, you learn a few simple yet powerful techniques to get the classic tender, simmered leeks and make the traditional tangy mustard dressing, but you also discover how to make a tarragon-infused pureé and serve it all with a rich and creamy crème fraîche. Usually served as a starter or side vegetable, this version of the dish is a great accompaniment to a meal. However, add a crusty baguette, maybe some lightly dressed salad greens, and this recipe becomes the main character, especially when adding ButcherBox’s convenient plucked lobster meat that’s gently poached.

Lobster & Leeks in Vinaigrette

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 8 oz ButcherBox Lobster Meat
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water
  • Salt preferably kosher such as Diamond Crystal or Morton
  • 1 large leek roots trimmed, sliced into ½-inch rounds and rinsed
  • ¾ oz fresh tarragon leaves and tender stems
  • tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus more for serving
  • 2 tbsp plus 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated or chopped garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup Kewpie mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp diced celery
  • 2 tsp finely diced shallot
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • Flake salt for serving
  • Fresh chervil or parsley leaves and tender stems for serving


  • Bring the vegetable stock or water to a boil in a medium pot or large high-sided sauté pan. Once simmering, season with salt and then add ½ of the leeks and poach, stirring occasionally until crunch free, tender but not mushy, about 9 to 11 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the leeks to a sheet pan, spread them out and let cool.
  • Add the lobster to the simmering broth and cook until thoroughly opaque, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the lobster to a plate.
  • While the lobster and leeks are cooling, chop all of the tarragon leaves and stems. Place all but 1 tablespoon (set aside) of the chopped tarragon in a food processor or blender then add 5 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the garlic. Pulse until you have a coarse purée then transfer to a small bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 2½ tablespoons olive oil, vinegar and mustard to combine. Season with salt and pepper and when the leeks are cool, add them, toss to coat and set aside. In another bowl, place the mayo, celery, shallot, remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon and remaining 1½ teaspoons lemon juice. Mix with a fork or whisk to combine then add the cooked lobster meat. Toss again to coat the lobster, taste and, as desired, season with more salt and pepper.
  • When ready to serve, use a spoon to drizzle the tarragon purée on the base of the platter followed by a dollop of the crème fraîche. Arrange the leeks in vinaigrette over the top followed by the lobster salad over the leeks. Sprinkle everything with flake salt, drizzle with olive oil and, finally, top with the chervil or parsley.
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