Panamanian Corn Tortillas Lobster Disc with Cilantro Pesto

  • Recipe courtesy of Kitchen Conspirators

Total Time:
2 hr 6 min
1 hr
Inactive Prep:
6 min
1 hr
30 servings


  • Tortilla
  • 2 cups instant Masa mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water, tepid
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 stick butter, melted and clarified
  • Lobster Tourchon
  • 1 (1 lb.) lobster
  • 2-5 grams Ajinomoto Activa GS (a transglutaminase)
  • 12 ounces clarified butter
  • Cilantro Pesto
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3-4 large handfuls of washed cilantro (2-3 bunches, depending on size)
  • 1/2-3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Candied Peppers
  • 3 habanero peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt


Bring water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add lobster and cook for 90 seconds. Remove lobster, wash in sink under cold water (you want to stop the lobster from cooking all the way through). Break shell of tail and crack claws. Remove meat and set in a bowl. Pat the meat dry and set meat onto plastic wrap. Spoon Activa GS into a small metal strainer so that it dusts evenly. Apply generously, so that it looks like it has been evenly floured. The metal strainer will help with even distribution. Roll the meat into a tube-like shape. Twist each end tightly. Vacuum seal the lobster tourchon if you have a vacuum sealer, but it is not necessary. Set the wrapped lobster meat in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours to allow the Activa GS to set.

Cook Lobster
Cut the plastic wrap off the meat.
Heat clarified butter to roughly 180 - 200 degrees F.
Poach lobster in butter, completely submerged, for 8 minutes.
Slice to 1/4-inch thickness and serve.

Cilantro Pesto
Toss garlic and cilantro into a food processor with a little oil and allow it to run for 20-30 seconds, until paste has formed. Add salt. While processor is running, slowly pour in olive oil, adding more or less to achieve desired consistency.

Candied Peppers
Heat water and sugar until it is boiling. Stir and lower heat. When boiling has stopped, add the candied peppers. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
You will most likely have leftover peppers. They can be stored in the fridge and will keep for about 1 1/2 week.

Arrange warmed tortillas on a wooden cutting board or marble slab. From a wide-mouthed plastic squirt bottle, apply a small smear of cilantro pesto. Top with a disc of lobster, another small dot of pesto and a thin ribbon of candied habanero.

Series: Kitchen Conspirators
Episode: Santa Catalina Cuisine (Ep. 1: Part 5)