Creamy Baked Butter Poached Lobster TailsSeptember 17, 2014
I've just gotten back from a pretty incredible week in the Acadia National Park in Maine. We stayed on the west side of Mount Desert Island, which is quieter than the areas by Bar Harbor, but we managed to take in our fair share of everything the Island has to offer!
As soon as the plans to go to Maine were sorted I knew I wanted to cook up some lobster. We experienced some incredible examples of the simple, boiled variety at the many lobster pounds in the area. Thurston's in Bernard was particular fun, getting to pick out your lobby before having him served up, bright red with sides of drawn butter, corn cobs and potato salad.
I wanted to do something a little different with my lobster, only using the tails which are a whole lot easier to work with if, like me, you're not that familiar with the whole beast.
It's also a gentle way into lobster if the idea of tackling a scarlet alien is daunting!
Ingredients: serves 4
4 lobster tails in their shells (about 3-4oz/85-100g each)
1 1/2 cups salted butter- for poaching, don't panic!
1 white onion
splosh of white wine- about 1 glass
1/2 cup/120ml heavy cream
large bunches of fresh dill and parsley
1/2 cup/75g bread crumbs
salt and pepper
Take your reptilian lobster tails and lay them shell down on a chopping board. Use a sturdy pair of kitchen scissors to cut the 'belly' portion of the shell away to reveal the translucent tail meat. Use a teaspoon to ease the meat out of the shell gently, you want to keep it whole. Keep the tail shells as you'll be stuffing them with the finished lobster mix before baking. Repeat this with all the tails.
Melt your butter in a saucepan. You don't want it to be boiling or bubbling, just be sure that it's completely melted but keep it just before that simmering levels on a medium heat.
Plop your tail meat into the butter, it should not sizzle or bubble at all, just slide gentle into the sunflower yellow pool of butter. It's an alarming amount of butter, I know, but you're not eating it all, hardly any of it really. I do have a lovely way to use up the left over butter afterwards but i'll come to that later*.
The tails will take about 6 minutes to poach and cook all the way through, this will keep them on the 'just cooked' side of done. They will be baked as well so be careful not to over cook them at this stage or they will become rubbery when baked. If you are unsure about whether they are done, slice one through the middle, the meat should be opaque rather than translucent.
Pluck the tails from the butter and pop them on a board to cool a little, pour the butter into a bowl or jug to save for later.
Dice the onion finely then fry in a large saute pan (or a frying pan with a lid) in a teaspoon of the lobster poaching butter on a medium high heat. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes until the onions are softening, then turn up the heat under the pan. Throw in the lobster tails and a good splosh of wine. Let it sizzle away for a minute or two then pop the lid on the pan to steam the shells- this will turn the shells a bright, pillar box red colour and infuse some lobster-y flavour into the onions. Keep the lid on the pan for about 3 minutes, then remove the shells from the pan and set open-belly side up on a baking dish. Turn the heat under the pan down to low.
Add in the cream and finely chopped herbs to the onion and wine mixture and simmer on a low heat until it's thickened.
Slice the lobster tail into slices about 1/2 inch/1 & 1/2 cm pieces and add into the creamy sauce, stir until well coated then spoon into the shells, dividing the meat out equally.
Top the shells with breadcrumbs and a teaspoon each of the lobster poaching butter, then bake in the oven at 360F for about 10 minutes, until the crumb is golden.
Serve up with roasted corn cobs doused in the lobster butter.
*Another fab and completely decadent use for the lobster poaching butter it to use it to make a lobster hollandaise to serve along side seafood, shellfish or more lobster!