Lobster is without a doubt one of my very favorite foods. It is something I don’t eat frequently, given that I live in Indiana and good quality lobster in these parts is a bit pricey. Every once in a while, maybe once or twice a year, I make lobster tails at home for a special meal. Since lobster is one of those foods that is frequently associated with Valentine’s Day, and consequently lots of stores will have sales on lobster this weekend, I thought I would share some tips on how to prepare it at home. I’ll give the usual disclaimer that I am certainly no expert in this area, and as with many things, there are lots of different ways you can do this. What I show here is my personal preference.
Of course the most important thing is to start with good quality lobster, something that was recently caught (and flown in, if you are landlocked like me). The beauty of lobster, like so many good quality seafoods, is that a very simplistic preparation is often the best option to highlight the flavor of the meat. Steaming lobster is another popular cooking method, but I like to broil it. There is really no recipe required here because all you need is lobster tails, salted butter, and lemon for serving.
If you would like to serve your lobster with clarified butter (and I think that you should), making it couldn’t be easier. Basically, you melt salted butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When the butter is fully melted, there should be a layer of butterfat solids floating on top. Skim that off with a spoon and discard. And there you have it! Clarified, or drawn, butter. Once I have skimmed the solids, I like to leave the drawn butter over low heat to keep it warm until the lobster is ready to serve.
To prep and cook the lobster, first preheat the broiler. Place an oven rack at the second highest position.
Cover a baking sheet with foil and place the lobster tails on the pan.
Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut a slit up the center of the shell, doing your best to cut the shell and not the meat (it’s not a big deal if you do cut the meat though.)
Carefully open the shells along the midline cut you made, taking care to avoid scratching yourself (the shells can be very sharp!) When the opening is large enough, gently separate the lobster meat from the inside of the shell with your fingers. When the whole segment of meat has been peeled away from the shell, lift it up and out of the opening so that it is sitting on top of the shell. Brush the lobster meat lightly with melted butter. Place under the broiler and cook until the meat is opaque and cooked through, 6-9 minutes (depending on the size of the lobster tail). Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges and drawn butter.