Broiled Lobster Tail with Brown Butter Sauce

Broiled lobster tail—the quintessential fancy dinner menu item, isn’t it? Unlike whole boiled or steamed lobster, which is almost impossible to eat delicately, with broiled lobster tail the work has already been done for you. The perfectly cooked meat sits atop the lobster’s bright red shell. All you have to do is cut and eat. Of course this requires a bit more effort on the part of the one preparing the lobster tail. The lobster’s hard shell must be cut open, the meat dislodged from the walls of the shell and pulled out to rest on top before broiling. But in the end, you have a lovely meal that doesn’t require bibs, nutcrackers, or wads of napkins.

For this lobster tail recipe we are using a sauce of browned butter with parsley, lemon zest, shallots, and some toasted hazelnuts. If you don’t want to go to that trouble, you can just use plain melted butter with some salt, pepper, and maybe a little paprika to dust the top of the lobster meat before broiling. But I highly recommend browning the butter first. Just that extra step will intensify the butter flavor which goes so well with lobster. I’ve made broiled lobster both ways and will not go back to plain butter. Browned is so much better. Toasted hazelnuts are also rather buttery in taste add a lovely crunch to each bite. Do you have a special way of preparing lobster tails? Please let us know about it in the comments. Thanks!

Broiled Lobster Tail with Brown Butter Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2.

If starting with frozen lobster tails, prepare a bowl with 2 quarts of cold water and 1 Tbsp salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Place the lobster tails in the water. Add a few ice cubes. Let sit for half hour to an hour until defrosted.

This recipe calls for lobster tails that are 6 to 8 ounces each. If you are cooking smaller or larger lobster tails, you'll need to adjust the broiling time down or up. For example, a 3 ounce lobster tail should take 3 to 4 minutes to broil.

The trickiest part of working with lobster tails is opening the shell and loosening the meat enough to pull it through the cut you've made in the shell. Depending on at what point of the lobster's molting cycle the lobster was caught, the shell can be either really thick and strong, or thin and easy to manipulate. Take care if working with an especially hard shell so you don't cut yourself, and use a strong hand. (I recommend watching this video for a good explanation of the technique.)

Ingredients

  • 2 lobster tails 6-8 ounces each, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup unsalted raw hazelnuts
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt

Method

If starting with frozen lobster tails, while the lobster tails are defrosting, prepare the hazelnut brown butter sauce.

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1 Toast hazelnuts in a small skillet on medium to medium high heat. When fragrant and lightly browned, remove hazelnuts from pan and place in the center a dry, clean dish towel. Rub the hazelnuts together inside of the dish towel to remove as much of the papery dark skins as you can. Coarsely chop them and set aside.

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2 In a small stainless steel saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. (Use stainless so you will easily be able to tell when the butter is browning.) After the butter melts, it will foam up, and recede. The milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pan. Continue to heat and the milk solids will start to brown giving the melted butter a wonderful nutty aroma. Let most of the milk solids brown and then remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, to remove the browned milk solids.  Remove 2 Tbsp of the melted browned butter and set aside (they will be brushed on to the lobster tails before broiling. (See more details in How to Brown Butter.)

3 To the remaining brown butter, add the chopped hazelnuts, parsley, shallots, lemon zest and salt. Set aside.

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4 Place rack in medium position in oven. Preheat broiler. Place a layer of foil over a broiling pan or roasting pan. Using kitchen shears or strong scissors, cut the top side of the lobster tail shells lengthwise, from open end to the base of the tail. To help make the shell easier to teal with, put the tail upside-down in the palm of your hand and squeeze to break the translucent bottom shell (see this useful video I found on YouTube). Grip the sides of the shell and pull open by about an inch or two. Using your finger, carefully wiggle between the lobster meat and the shell and separate the meat from the shell.   Then gently pull the meat up through the crack you've created, keeping the meat attached to the tail, and let the lobster meat sit on top of the shell. Place the tails on the foil-lined broiling pan.

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5 Pull back the lobster meat to expose as much of it as possible. Brush the exposed lobster meat with the unadorned browned butter you set aside in step 2. Broil for 7 to 10 minutes until the meat is cooked through (less time for smaller lobster tails), and the shells are bright red. I recommend using a meat thermometer, which should read 145°F when the lobster is done.

6 When the lobster tails are done, remove from oven and place on serving plates. Spoon the browned butter hazelnut sauce over the lobster meat of the lobster tails to serve.

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Links:

Broiled Lobster Tail with Garlic Butter Sauce from The Curvy Carrot

Broiled Lobster Tails with Oil Lemon Sauce from Kalofagas

Useful video on prepping lobster tails on YouTube

 

Broiled Lobster on Simply Recipes

18 Comments

  1. Librarian Lavender

    That looks so, so good! I’ve never tried to make lobster at home, but seeing this I don’t know if I can resist…

  2. barb

    I really like sauces like this with lobster or shrimp. Husband prefers it on the side. Your photos are mouth watering even at this early hour.

  3. Sally

    Coincidentally I had two lobster tails defrosting when I saw this recipe. I made a quick change in how I was planning to cook and serve them and this became dinner. With a salad and crusty bread it made a quick, easy and delicious meal. Thanks!

  4. Stephanie Weaver, The Recipe Renovator

    Elise, it’s so nice to be back to blogging. I love how instructive your posts always are. This sounds divine!

  5. Tchakayiti

    This looks amazing. We usually grill our lobster and serve it with a spicy/hot lemony sauce in Haiti. But I’m going to have to try this, especially because of the hazelnut, which I never would’ve thought to add…

  6. Mary Walker

    We usually cut the whole tail in half from bottom to top (scissors work well to cut right through the middle of the bottom shell and then broil or BBQ. recipe look yummy.

  7. JudyB

    Elise, the only thing I don’t have on hand is the hazelnuts, but I do have a can of macadamia nuts. Could I use those instead?
    The recipe looks amazing!

    • Elise

      Hi Judy, hmm, I think macadamia nuts would work well too!

      • JudyB

        Thanks very much! And just to be cheeky, I’ll add a pinch of lemon pepper to the sauce. Will be making this very soon!

  8. Sues

    Yum!! This makes me want to plan a dinner party and serve everyone lobster tail :)

  9. mazdee

    I always followed a method from my fishmonger, way back in the 60s. He told me to cut the bottom thin shell (easy with kitchen shears), pull out the whole tail, trim the shell, put the tail back in upside down, dowse with some butter and put in a preheated 450 oven for 10 minutes, or until done. The times might have to be adjusted, but that roasted tail was so wonderful! Today I live in Mexico, and get only rock lobster, which is good but a whole different creature. But your post makes me want a big lobster tail with brown butter. YUM.

  10. sue/the view from great island

    I never in a million years think to cook lobster, this makes it so much more “do-able” I can’t wait to give it a try!

  11. Christian Gehman

    Technically, if you are referring to the French sauce beurre brun, the accurate translation is “brown butter” — not “browned” butter, although in fact it is made with “browned” butter. Those are some very yummy photos ….

  12. JoanneNicole

    I read through this recipe 4 times, just to make sure I wasn’t just missing it…but where do the minced shallots come in?

    • Elise

      Hi Joanne, good catch! That was an unintentional omission. They go in with the butter in step 3.

  13. Jeff @ Cheese-burger.net

    The lobster tail turned out very delicious. But the butter sauce elevated it to amazing!

  14. Kim Pawell

    Great tutorial on both how to brown butter and how to prepare lobster. Thank you for your detailed approach. There is nothing like lobster tails with good butter and lemon, some crusty bread and a crisp glass of white wine. I’m looking forward to browning the butter for my next lobster meal!

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