Saturday, November 3, 2012

Butter Poached Lobster

I've "heard" that lobster has dropped in price.  Locally here in my corner of L.A, not that much.  My local market did have 4oz tails on sale this week so I grabbed a few.  I decided to replicate "Butter Poached Lobster" that we had on our anniversary at Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak last year.  The efforts were worth it as the lobsters natural sweetness shines when it is poached in butter much more so than when you just boil, grill or broil it. Simple ingredients simply prepared. Total success.

I did some research on the web and found that the butter used to poach isn't just melting the butter but rather creating a "Beurre Monte" or "Monte Beurre" butter sauce depending on the source you are looking at.  You use either unsalted butter or ghee a clarified butter.  I opted for the whole butter version as that is the most commonly used in the recipes I reviewed.

The sauce is tricky in that you have to whisk constantly over a low flame.  You can't allow the heat to break 190F or it will begin to break apart.  Letting it come to a boil you have lost it and need to start over.  I used my smallest burner and brought the water to a boil first, then reduced the heat to lowest setting and started whisking in the butter.  It worked for me.

After the lobster has been poached, you can strain the butter and use it for other cooking like sauteing or tossing in freshly steamed veggies.  Nothing goes to waste.

Another important step that appeared in a lot of the recipes I reviewed included par-cooking the lobster to make it easier to remove from the shell in one piece.  I used that step to minimize the waste and ensure I got every luscious morsel.  It is important to have this pre-cooking done prior to starting your butter poaching liquid as turning your back on the butter for even a second you run the risk of the sauce breaking.

Butter Poached Lobster

  • 1 lb small lobster tails
  • 1 lb unsalted butter cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 T water

Prepare a bowl with water and ice.  In a large pan bring 2 quarts water to a boil.  Add lobster tails and cook 2 minutes.  Remove and plunge in ice water to stop the cooking.  Cutting down the back of the lobster tail make a slit from stem to stern.  Split open the shell and extract the lobster meat.  Set aside while making butter poaching sauce.

In sauce pan add water and bring to boil. Just as bubble start reduce heat to low and start adding butter 1 cube at a time.  Whisk constantly and add butter one cube at a time when the previous one has melted. Whisk constantly to maintain the emulsion.

When all the butter has been incorporated add the lobster.  Maintain low heat and do not allow to boil.  Poach the lobster in the butter 4-5 minutes until cooked through and still tender.  Stir while poaching to maintain the emulsion and ensure good coverage of the lobster with the butter.  When done remove and plate!

Serve over a rice pilaf.

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