Lobster may seem intimidating to cook, but these baked lobster tails are a simple and elegant preparation that’s incredibly approachable—even if it’s your first time cooking the shellfish.
A bright herbaceous compound butter is all that the sweet, tender lobster meat needs to sing.
However, after baking, you could also extract the lobster meat from the shells and use it for classic lobster rolls or a decadent lobster mac and cheese. You can find frozen lobster tails at most supermarkets.
Baked Lobster Tails
- 4 (5 oz.) fresh lobster tails
- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter,
- melted and divided 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon thinly sliced fresh chives
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic (from 1 garlic clove)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt Lemon wedges, for serving
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 450°F. Using kitchen shears, cut straight down top center of the lobster tail shell. Use a spoon to gently release lobster meat from each side of the shell. Gently pull the meat away from the bottom of the lobster, and place on top of the shells. Place lobster tails on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and spoon 1 tablespoon of the butter over each. Bake in preheated oven until bright red and opaque, 12 to 14 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1/4 cup melted butter in a small saucepan over medium-low. When ready to serve, remove butter from heat, and transfer to a small serving bowl. Stir in lemon juice, tarragon, parsley, chives, garlic, and salt. Serve lobster tails with citrus-herb butter and lemon wedges.
Buying and Prepping Lobster
Though the first image of lobster that comes to mind is likely a whole specimen, served with fresh lemon and plenty of melted butter, there are many forms in which you can buy and cook this tough-shelled crustacean. Lobster can be purchased frozen, freshly cooked, broken up into parts, or alive and kicking—if you live in close enough proximity to the sea.
For the freshest lobster possible, live lobsters purchased, stored in a very cold refrigerator, and cooked within the same day will result in the best meat. However, if you’re squeamish over the idea of handling a live animal, many fishmongers also offer freshly cooked whole lobsters, which are ideally eaten shortly after purchasing, but can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a day.
If digging into a whole lobster isn’t your thing—or you’re working with a more limited budget— lobster tails, both fresh and frozen, can be purchased from many markets and online retailers like Lobster Anywhere, which ships everything from whole live lobsters to tails straight to your door.
Tails are a great option if you’re planning to prepare a recipe that requires chunks of lobster meat, such as Lobster Mac and Cheese or Lobster Rolls, and you’d rather not have to put in the elbow grease required to crack open the shell.
When working with frozen lobster tails, be sure to thaw them completely in a sealed bag in the refrigerator before cooking or serving, as attempting to cook a tail that is still frozen will result in extremely tough meat.
While the best tails will come directly from a fishmonger, for those looking to get a lobster taste on a budget, stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and even Amazon often have frozen tails in stock for a slightly lower cost. When shopping for tails, keep an eye out for cold-weather lobster tails, which will have higher quality meat than the warm-water alternative.
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