Distilled Spiny Lobster

Langosta Destilada
Chef: Pedro Subijana
Country: España
City: 20008 San Sebastián(Gipúzcoa).
Address: B. Igueldo. Paseo Padre Orcolaga, 56.

Pedro Subijana finds himself at a splendid point in his career, combining academism with non-conformity, scholarship with renewed spirit, synthesizing these qualities and many more that have come to be synonymous with his work in this masterful, technological recipe. The dish is born of a traditional shellfish consommé, of which there are countless of examples. In this interpretation, he has chosen a highly prestigious, wild crustacean: the spiny lobster. The dish and the lobster are prepared just before serving, with the added merit of being designed with a heavy dose of avant-garde concepts: the raw shellfish is heated by the consommé, which is prepared beforehand, without ever subjecting either element to boiling temperature, preserving the immaculate flavor and consistency of the mollusk meat. The identities of the accompaniments (green asparagus or seasonal vegetables, as well as herbs, micro-vegetables, flowers, etc.) are also wonderfully preserved through this process. It is nothing short of an entirely new way of presenting cuisine at the table, an unprecedented spectacle, with the main role being played by a “Cona” coffee maker, setting the stage for the show. It is presented with a Japanese motif, with chopsticks. But spectacle aside, the dish embodies sapid perfection. Spiny lobster soup in another place, another time… and told in a first person narrative by Pedro Subijana.

The Recipe

“Distilled” Spiny Lobster

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 2 spiny lobsters, 350 g each
  • 2 CONA model coffee makers
  • For the stock:
  • The heads of the two lobsters
  • 800 g water

For the garnish:

  • 1 chive flower
  • 30 g salicornia
  • 30 g wild asparagus
  • 1 marigold flower
  • 2 mini leeks (leek plant)
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 Chinese chive leaves


For the stock:

Brown the lobster head, opened down the middle, without oil in a non-stick pan. Place the browned heads with the cold water in a pot and cook for 2 hours at approximately 95ºC/203ºF.
Pass through a sieve, salt to taste and set aside.

For the spiny lobster.

Paralyze the lobsters in a freezer without leaving them in long enough to actually freeze through. Remove the shell using scissors and cut each tail into 8 pieces.


Remove the petals from the chive and marigold flowers. Cut the mini leeks into quarters and lightly brown in a pan with a drop of oil and salt. Cut each Chinese chive leaf into quarters.

Assemble both coffee makers the same way.
In the upper part of the coffee maker, place the 8 pieces of lobster along with the vegetables and herbs and place the broth in the bottom part at 95ºC/203ºF, just before boiling point.

When serving, in front of the dinner guest, assemble the coffee maker as such and heat using a small table stove.
When the stock rises to the upper part of the coffee maker where the lobster and herbs are, cover with a small pate and turn the stove off.
When the stock has then fallen back to the bottom half of the coffee maker, serve two pieces of the lobster to each guest in a bowl with the herbs and vegetables, topping everything with a small amount of the stock (lobster consommé).
The broth is served separately in a crystal glass, to be drank.