A decadent, indulgent, and highly elegant meal, lobster tail dinners are usually reserved for high-end restaurants. However, although the thought might seem intimidating at first, lobster tails are surprisingly quick and simple to prepare at home.
Here are some ways you can prepare and cook lobster tails like a professional:
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How to thaw lobster tails
Unless the lobster tails you bought are fresh, you need to thaw them completely, to prevent the meat from sticking to the shell, and ensure it’s cooked evenly. The safest and fastest way to do this is to place your lobster tails in cold water for about 30 minutes until the meat is flexible, and completely defrosted.
How to butterfly lobster tails
Butterflying is one of the most impressive and elegant ways of preparing lobster tails. Simply cut the tail straight down the middle using sharp kitchen scissors. Then, open the shell with your thumbs, and pull the flesh out, making sure a small piece is still attached to the end of the tail. Layer the meat on top of the shell, for the best presentation.
Depending on the method of preparation, you can either season the lobster tails before or after cooking, or even both, in some cases. When steaming, broiling, or roasting lobsters, you can decide to brush the meat with melted (garlic) butter, and sprinkle some seasonings, such as salt, black pepper, and paprika. When lobsters are boiled, season them after cooking and removing from the shell with melted (garlic) butter, and serve with lemon wedges.
Steaming lobster tails
A quick and simple way to prepare lobster tails, steaming efficiently cooks the meat through, and separates it from the shell, making it much easier to remove. Here’s how to steam lobster tails:
- Place a steamer insert into a pot of water. Cover, and bring the water to a boil.
- Add the lobster tails into the steamer basket, and cover again. Steam until the meat is tender and opaque, and the shells bright red, 45-60 seconds per ounce of lobster.
- Cut the shells down the top, or even leave them intact, and season after steaming, to avoid a bland flavor.
Broiling lobster tails
The dry heat of a broiler cooks the lobster tails quite quickly, allowing the meat to brown lightly, and adding new layers of aroma. Here’s how to broil lobster tails:
- Butterfly the lobster tails, or cut them in half, and then place the meat on top of the lobster shell. Brush the meat with garlic butter (optional).
- Preheat the broiling element, and place the baking rack about 6-10 inches above.
- Broil for approximately 6 minutes, or until the meat is white and firm, and a thermometer reads 140 °F (60 °C).
Roasting lobster tails
Giving lobster tails a firmer texture and a stronger flavor, roasting in the oven is one of the quickest and most convenient ways of preparation, especially when it comes to larger lobsters. Here’s how to roast lobster tails:
- Preheat the oven to 425 °F (218 °C).
- Prepare the lobster tails by butterflying them, or cutting them in half, and then placing the meat on top, for a more appealing presentation.
- Place the lobster tails onto a baking sheet, and brush them with melted (garlic) butter. Optionally, splash a bit of water or wine into the baking tray, for additional flavor.
- Roast for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until the meat is white and firm, and a thermometer reads 140 °F (60 °C).
Boiling lobster tails
Boiling lobster tails is an efficient way of tenderizing the meat and cooking it evenly, making for a quick and simple preparation method. Here’s how to boil lobster tails:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water reaches a boil, slightly reduce the heat, and keep it at a gentle boil.
- Place whole, uncut lobster tails into the water, and cook until the shells are bright red, and the meat pinkish-white and tender, approximately 1 minute per ounce of lobster.
- Drain the lobster tails and allow them to cool slightly, before removing the shell. Serve with sprinkled seasonings of your choice.
Regardless of the method of preparation, lobster tails are always served best with melted butter, a squeeze of lemon, and some fresh parsley. When seafood is this delicious, it’s always best to keep it simple.