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Poaching lobster tails

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

WOW,  where has butter poached lobster been all my life...!

 

I was looking around for recipes for grilling tails on the grill and came across butter poached lobster - wow, that's all I can say. Also found butter poached lobster shooters with a drizzle of clarified butter and butter poached lobster with tomato and basil, wow, wow, wow....!

 

Are there other favorable varieties of poaching lobster, I don't mean dishes made with butter poached lobster, I mean poaching varieties?

 

Red.

 

(I should have become a chef, my family was always after me to go in that direction, but I didn't listen, damn, do I regret it now!)

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post #2 of 22

Yeah, OK, butter poached lobster is nice. I do mine a particular way I learned (* kinda teaching myself) in Maine. I'll give you my way here. See if you like it. 

 

Butter gets nasty after 160*. I do a thing to help that out up to +/- 190*. I'm sure there is a French word for that, but I don't know it so much (you all pretty much know how I feel about French stuff). We're using clarified butter here, by-the-way. 

 

Put the tails in your pot and just cover them with water. Take out the tails, drain and dry them. Now you know how much "butter liquid" you will need. I cut the lobster tails up the belly, crack but not cut the tops, and gently remove the tails. I then put them back in. The object is having loose tail meat in the shells. I take two(2) tails and put them soft sides together in opposite directions, then rubber-band them together using the bands from the claws. I do this so they don't curl up. I hate that. 

 

I sweat out some minced shallots garlic and celery hearts, seasoning with pink salt and cracked pepper. Knowing how much "butter liquid" I will need I can figure how much white wine I will start with; 5+:1 butter/wine. I like a wine leaning on the sweeter side. I pour in the wine, wisking until it gets close to little bubbles. I back off the heat and start pouring in the butter, wisking until all is incorporated and sorta emulsified. Yeah, I'm serious here. It really happens. Here we go, we have our poaching liquid. 

 

Add the lobsters and cover, cooking for +/- 8 minutes. You gotta watch the heat. NO BOILING HERE.  A little undercooked is better than over because we can finish them off in a pan bringing them up to serving temp. The color is a good indication of being cooked. It's not a cold-hard rule, but it's a good idea.  I'm not serving cold lobster here. 

 

That's it. Whatever else you serve up with the lobster is your choice. You can serve the tails whole, you can slice them in half long ways, you can cut them into medallions ... it's up to you. 

 

 

* I worked a place in Maine that had so much fresh seafood, including all the lobster that I could serve, that I just played with stuff. If there was a glitch I just made chowder or paella or salad. Nobody knew or said anything. This is how I kinda taught myself stuff. I was a lucky guy at the time.


Edited by IceMan - 7/5/12 at 9:02am

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post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Nice method IceMan, what I did was very simple; 1 tbls of water with a couple sticks of butter whisked in, cube by cube.

 

What I'm curious about is, can I save what I created for another use, either lobster again or something else? (It didn't break while poaching, I kept it at exactly 160 +/- 1-2 degrees the entire time.)

 

Red.

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post #4 of 22

I wouldn't keep it longer than a day. You can use just butter if you're gonna stay so close to 160*. I've never really had any problems with any "breaking", but you need to know about it still. For me I just think about it as "hot enough to cook, but low enough to be gentle". The only time I screwed it up out of bounds was when I really cranked up the heat. Funny thing was that it was still edible. I don't remember exactly, but I think the big "BPL hot-shot" Thomas Keller makes his more confit style, in the oven. 

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post #5 of 22

Thomas Keller recommends poaching lobster for a long period in beurre monte, similar to redvan's method. The great part about using beurre monte is that it must stay at a low temperature to prevent breaking, and since it is emulsified, you aren't losing any of the parts of the butter that make up its whole flavor. Clarified butter just doesn't have the same flavor as whole butter. Since beurre monte must stay at a low temperature, there is very little risk of overcooking the lobster. I have never cooked lobster using this method that has not come out absolutely perfect. It's also relatively easy.

 

I see no reason not to reuse the butter as long as it is stored under refrigeration and used promptly. It's also delicious.

post #6 of 22

LOL. Yep. Butter poached lobster is nice. 


Edited by IceMan - 7/5/12 at 6:24pm

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post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Could I use this same method (beurre monte) to poach other fishy items like king krab, prawns and just plain fish?

 

I realize king krab is already cooked but the idea of it having this smooth buttery texture is making me drool. I always have several pounds of kk in my freezer, well, until recently.... have they gone extinct?

 

Red.

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post #8 of 22

Absolutely. Beurre monte, in my experience, tends to be more tolerant to higher heats than if it has flavored liquids in it (beurre blanc). If you keep an eye on the temperature of your butter, holding it constant while the fish is cooking, the fish will cook all the way through at exactly that temperature. Think butter sous vide. You may run into trouble with some particular items, like white fish, which may want to fall apart once they are cooked, so you would have to use your judgement based on the fish and what cookware your using. What I wouldn't use it for are things like scallops, which I prefer seared on the outside and rare on the inside.
 

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

Got curious about "beurre" and did a little research online.... WOW!

 

beurre blanc

beurre monte

beurre noisette

beurre rouge

beurre manie

beurre noir

to name a few....

 

I'm going to be experimenting this weekend, my doctor is going to hate me

 

Red.

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post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by redvan View Post

Got curious about "beurre" and did a little research online.... WOW!

 

beurre blanc

beurre monte

beurre noisette

beurre rouge

beurre manie

beurre noir

to name a few....

 

I'm going to be experimenting this weekend, my doctor is going to hate me

 

Red.

 

 

Quote:

Clarified butter just doesn't have the same flavor as whole butter.

Just a nuttier taste.

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post #11 of 22

Not just nuttier. When you clarify butter, you are removing the water and solids, which contribute to both flavor and texture. If the butter tastes nutty after clarifying, then it has been clarified at too high of a temperature, making beurre noisette or ghee.

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

I've heard that ghee is something to stay away from, far away?

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post #13 of 22

NO, LOL not at all.    However, India is far enough away from Queens.   Ghee is the clarified butter of Southern Asia, the middle East. Melted butter with the white top-floating stuff removed; cooked a bit darkening color and flavor; then poured off of residue that will be settled at the bottom.  Interesting enough, ghee has a very high smoke-point.   I'm curious why it would be suggested to say away from ghee. 

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post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

I was told that ghee is put in the walk-in at night only to be reused the next day and when it starts getting low, more is added to what's left, this then leads to a bacteria stew.

 

Enlighten me to a good side of this behavior....!

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post #15 of 22

Gee, if you mistreat ghee, then you will have a problem!

 

It is not the storing, it is the potential for cross-contamination that is the potential problem. A fairly easy situation to handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redvan View Post

I was told that ghee is put in the walk-in at night only to be reused the next day and when it starts getting low, more is added to what's left, this then leads to a bacteria stew.

 

Enlighten me to a good side of this behavior....!

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post #16 of 22

LOL. Bad practice is bad practice. You shouldn't blame the ingredient for bad practices of other people.   I wouldn't myself save and re-use used poaching liquid, as you asked before.   However, I don't really think adding new product to an unused product is all that bad. I don't like doing that, but I don't think it's entirely out-of-bounds, just not such a good practice. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 

Sorrry, didn't mean to offend anyone, I'm just a simple home cook.

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post #18 of 22

I don't think there is any offense here at all. LOL. This is a good thread. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I learned a lot from this one, especially about beurre!

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post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by redvan View Post

Got curious about "beurre" and did a little research online.... WOW!

 

beurre blanc

beurre monte

beurre noisette

beurre rouge

beurre manie

beurre noir

to name a few....

 

I'm going to be experimenting this weekend, my doctor is going to hate me

 

Red.

 

I don't think you'd like the aestheic of poached lobster in beurre rouge but you ceratnly can set poached lobster on top of it. I used to do a seared snapper that way. Enjoy the experiements. ;)

 

Dave

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I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
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post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 

I know this thread is a bit old but I didn't want to start another on the same topic....

 

I saw on a cooking show, Iron Chef I think, where the chef sealed a protein (as you all would call it) in a bag and then basically cooked it in a simmering liquid in a pot on a burner.

 

This got me thinking about poached lobster. I have one of those seal-a-meal contraptions and the bags supposedly can be boiled so I was wondering if I could place a lobster tail in one of these bags and cover it in butter, couple sticks compared to several pounds, seal it and slow cook it in a pot of 170 degree water similar to poaching in 4 lbs of butter.

 

(Believe me, I'm not cheap, but tossing all that butter after poaching 2 lobster tails makes me cry. I hate to waste anything and have been trying to find a more economical way of doing this.)

 

What do you think?

 

Red.

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post #22 of 22

Usually, if I am butter poaching something, I will try to find a pan that is barely big enough to fit the thing I'm going to poach to minimize butter wasteage. The great thing about doing it with lobster is that the butter infuses with lobster flavor, so you can then use the butter to make a sauce. Don't toss it, make something amazing with it! If you use beurre monte then it becomes really easy to do a finicky sauce like a hollandaise or beurre blanc. What you have described is called sous-vide, and is also a totally viable method. In fact, it's my favorite method for cooking proteins at lower temperatures. Keep in mind that if you just throw chunks of butter in the bag with the lobster, it will break as you melt, so you won't have nicely emulsified butter to use at the end, but it will still infuse with lobster flavor. You could also do it without butter in the bag and end up with perfectly cooked lobster, but it wouldn't be all buttery.
 

While vacuum seal bags for sous-vide are nice, you can also use Ziploc bags and squeeze most of the air out of them. Make sure they are well-sealed and make sure to maintain the temperature of the water bath at whatever you are aiming for.

 

If you want to know more about cooking sous-vide, there are numerous resources around the web, including an excellent tutorial at Serious Eats. Thomas Keller has also written a highly-regarded book all about sous-vide (which I do not have but hear is great) called Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide.

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