Friday, May 06, 2016

Roasted "Piggy Back" Lobster Tails

What do moms want to eat on Mother's Day? Well, according to this survey, it's seafood! Not only that, but they'd rather eat it at home - with someone else doing the cooking and cleaning up, of course - than go to a crowded, expensive restaurant.

Well, you're in luck! Last night, hubby and I celebrated both of us getting very difficult professional certifications that we've worked on for the past year. I was finally awarded mine last month and he got his yesterday. We said that when this day came, we were going to have lobster and champagne!

Up until last year, I've never really cooked with lobster. When we finished our kitchen remodel, we decided to celebrate with lobster and champagne and I found the easiest, most impressive, and delicious way to prepare them.

You really can't go wrong with this method and presentation. Your mom, or anyone you prepare this for, will think you are a Rockstar!

1. First, let's start out with some lobster tails. We buy ours frozen, which is perfectly fine, and more importantly - reasonable in price! Buying frozen tails versus fresh ones will save you money, plus give you more flexibility on when you want to use them.

The easiest way to defrost frozen lobster tails is in cold water in a bowl in your sink. You never want to try to do this in warm or hot water, as that may make your tails tough, and defrosting them in your refrigerator over a few days can potentially make your tails go bad. Here, I am defrosting 4 tails that were approximately 10-12 ounces in size. I paid $35 for 4, nice-sized tails when they were on sale.

You can tell in the picture, these tails have already been split, meaning someone has cut the top shell with a pair of kitchen shears. This is exactly what I want and I'll explain why later.

Defrosting lobster tails only takes about an hour. You don't need to change the water out and you will know they are ready when you can bend the lobster from top-to-tail like this:

2. Next, we are going to pull out the meat from inside those tails and "piggy back" it to lie on top of the shells. This is where buying pre-split tails comes in handy. If your tails are not pre-split, simply take a pair of kitchen shears and cut the top shell from the top to the end of the tail. Do not cut all the way to the end of the tail, stop about an inch before the tail "fan".

To pull the meat out, gently pull the shell apart. You don't want to rip it apart, but give you enough flexibility to reach in a pull the meat up. Pull the meat up from the lower shell/membrane, it should come up easily, and stop where you feel it is attached to the tail.  At this point, squeeze the shell back together and lay the meat on top of the shell. This is called "piggy backing".

Not only does this give an amazing presentation when it's done, the shell gives the meat a surface to cook on.

3. Once you have your tails prepped, preheat your oven to 375°. Take your tails, put them on a cookie sheet, and rub some olive oil all over the meat (on top and bottom). I usually drizzle a teaspoon or so on the meat and then massage it in with my hands. The olive oil prevents the meat from sticking to the shell and from drying out.

Then sprinkle on a little paprika for color and flavor.

4. Next, roast your tails 1 1/2 minutes per ounce of tail meat. So:

  • 8 oz. tails = 12 minutes
  • 10 oz. tails = 15 minutes
  • 16 oz. tails = 24 minutes
At the end of the necessary time, take your tails out and preheat your oven broiler to HI. Place your oven rack 6 inches from the broiler. Spread a pat of butter on top of each tail (approximately 1/2 tablespoon) and place the tails back in the oven under the broiler. Broil for 3 minutes. 

5. After broiling, sprinkle on some parsley and serve with lemon and butter! I didn't have any parsley, but we certainly celebrated!

Is this not the most delicious thing you've ever seen? And it is so incredibly easy! Our meal, minus the champagne, came to about $12 per plate - that's with 1 tail each, 3 stuffed clams, and some creamed spinach. Not bad, huh? If I went to a restaurant for this meal, I would pay at LEAST double that.

So, go show your mom that she's the Rockstar. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there this weekend!

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