• Andrew Zimmern Cooks: Plateau de Fruits de Mer


The Ultimate Seafood Tower

By Andrew Zimmern

This is Plateau de Fruits de Mer 101. First, learn how to dispatch a lobster and cook it in a court bouillon, and then how to steam crab, mussels and shrimp in a multi-tiered bamboo steamer. I’ll teach you how to shuck oysters and clams with the proper tools, and make three classic seafood dipping sauces from scratch. And finally, learn how to build an epic seafood tower. Why go through all of this work? Because you can create this masterpiece at home for a quarter of the price of ordering it at a restaurant. Use this recipe as an inspirational guide, and feel free to pick and choose elements that fit your taste and budget.

Watch Andrew make this recipe:

Andrew Zimmern Cooks: Plateau de Fruits de Mer


To Cook the Lobster

  • 2 live lobsters
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

Plateau de Fruits de Mer

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs parsley
  • 4 Alaskan king crab legs
  • 1 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 pound large shrimp
  • Seaweed
  • Crushed ice
  • 12 oysters, shucked
  • 12 little neck or cherrystone clams, shucked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges


First, Make the Sauces

I like to place bowls of mignonette, herbed aioli and cocktail sauce on my plateau de mer. Make the sauces before you cook any of the seafood and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mignonette Recipe
Herbed Aioli Recipe
Cocktail Sauce Recipe

Then, Cook the Lobster

Place the lobsters in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make a court bouillon. Fill a large stock pot with water, add celery, lemon, bay leaf, onion and white wine. Bring the water to a boil. Remove the lobsters from the freezer, then plunge a sharp chef’s knife into the carapace behind the eyes—watch this video for tips on how to humanely kill a lobster. Add the lobsters to the boiling court bouillon, cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the lobsters and let them rest for at least 5 minutes

Meanwhile, Steam the Crab, Mussels & Shrimp

Place an inch or so of water in a large straight-sided saute pan big enough to hold a bamboo steamer. You can add aromatics like bay leaf, celery, onion, lemon and white wine if you’d like—I think it adds a nice flavor to the seafood. Bring the water to a boil, place the first level of the steamer in the pot and add the king crab legs. Place the next tier on top and add the mussels. Line the next layer with seaweed and top with the shrimp—the seaweed helps to buffer the steam, which allows the shrimp to cook slower. Remove the seafood as it’s ready. The king crab just needs to be warmed through. After a few minutes, check the mussels and if they’ve opened, remove from heat. The shrimp should be just cooked through in about 5 to 7 minutes. Cool the king crab and shrimp down by placing a few handfuls of ice on top of them as they rest.

Fill each tier of a seafood tower (or whatever platter you’re using) with crushed ice. Place a handful of seaweed on top of the ice for presentation. Add bowls of herbed aioli, cocktail sauce and mignonette.

Shell the lobster and place meat from the tail and claws on the ice—watch this tutorial for tips on extracting the lobster meat. Peel and devein the shrimp and add to the tower along with the crab legs. On the top tier, add the shucked oysters and clams.

Whisk the olive oil and sherry wine vinegar together in a bowl. Season with salt. Baste each mussel with the vinaigrette and add to the platter. Garnish with lemon wedges and enjoy!

Here are a few tutorials to get you started:

How to Kill a Lobster

How to Shell a Lobster

How to Shuck an Oyster

How to Shuck Clams

Cocktail Sauce

Mignonette Sauce

Herbed Aioli

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