When your mother is a phenomenal cook, it's very difficult to get any props for your cooking within your family. Mostly because you're compared to someone who cooks like a professional chef and consistently produces delicious and beautiful food, meal after meal. I have chances to cook for Parents when they come up to visit me in Northern California, and Mother will often comment that she enjoys the food, but Father will go home and mutter something to Mother in the vein of, "I'm not sure what she is doing with her food." I try and brush it off -as HEY...there are lots of people who enjoy my food, just not Family.
When I am at Mother's house in Southern California, she is generally head chef, executive chef, sous chef, and prep chef of the kitchen. I can't complain however, because she produces great healthy dishes, meal after meal, for Kids and me. What's not to like? However, I do miss getting my hands dirty in the kitchen after a long week of being at Mom's house and there is always a part of me that wants to offer my own twist and take on things.
When Mother asked me about lobster tails and how best to cook them, I said that I would figure it out and take it on. Our Easter Meal was going to be prepared by me. This was my chance to shine! Mother was unsure and actually deferring to me and I would have a chance to wow Brothers, Sister-in-law, Mother, and Father. It was a chance too good to pass up. I started thinking about it a week ago, pondering it in my head, but it wasn't until the day before I was supposed to make it that I was struck with my idea - I wanted to make a roasted garlic lobster tails, like the roasted crabs from a number of different restaurants - such as Thanh Long, PPQ Dungeness Island, and Crustaceans.
I passed my idea by foodie Brother #1, who was immediately intrigued by the idea and supportive. I discussed with Mother, who seemed slightly dubious but willing to risk her $75 purchase of frozen Honduran lobster tails on her somewhat nutty daughter. (she actually bought twenty tails for $150, but we only prepared ten.) I studied and figured out what would be cooking technique, deciding that two cooking processes, steaming and then roasting would be necessary to preserve the delicate nature of lobster tail. This recipe uses few ingredients and is only difficult in figuring out how to cook lobster. As this is a two step process the greatest danger is over cooking, so my advice would be to err on the side of under cooking. (The timings in the recipe were created and used so as to best preserve the nature of the lobster meat.)
I served the Roasted Garlic Lobster with Garlic Scallion Noodles, Bokchoy Salad and lots of lemon wedges. The end result was scrumptious, and Brother #1 raved about the deliciousness of the lobster, noodles with lemon squeeze on top eaten together, calling it the perfect complement of flavors. Daughter #1 ate one whole tail, and Father took down at least two tails. I have to say, with the pasta it was absolutely scrumptious and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.
As a side note, although Father did eat quite a nice portion of food, his comment in passing was that the meal I had prepared the day before, Asian Fish Tacos, was much more enjoyable than Roasted Garlic Lobsters. I guess I can't win, when the man is married to Chef Mom. I'll settle for having my meal enjoyed by Family, even if it still doesn't compete with Mom's.
Roasted Garlic Lobster
6 lobster tails, around 6 oz each, split in half down the center (ours were from Costco, but I just realized that the Honduran lobster is not on the list of sustainable ocean seafood.)
1 tablespoon of salt for steaming water
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced or passed through a press
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley or green onions
1 lemon, cut in half, ready to be squeezed
Place oven rack as close to heating element as possible. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
In a large steamer pot, or in a large pot which can accommodate a steamer, fill with enough water so that the water is just below the steamer basket. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, carefully add (THIS WILL BE HOT) steamer basket with lobster in it and cover and allow to steam, five minutes. (photo note - these lobsters have been split, but not totally separated into halves.)
The lobsters will not be fully cooked at this point. (photo note - uncooked lobster meat. I did not split the lobster fully, but did at this step. It will be more efficient to split before cooking, reducing steaming time.)
While lobsters are steaming, prepare garlic butter roasting mixture. Over medium heat, in a heavy, large oven proof skillet (one large enough to accommodate lobsters is ideal but not necessary), melt butter with oil, and add garlic, salt and pepper, and mix until garlic is fragrant, but NOT colored at all. Remove from heat and set aside.
Toss lobsters into the butter garlic mixture and allow lobsters to be coated. If the skillet can accommodate all the lobster halves and is oven-proof, then put all the lobsters in, MEAT SIDE DOWN. (the shell will protect lobsters from high temperature roast.) If your pan is not oven proof, or it cannot accommodate all the lobsters, get a large baking sheet and place the lobsters into the pan, MEAT SIDE DOWN. (photo note - these are half tails that have been completely split, so meat side is down.)
Roast in oven for 6-8 minutes, until garlic is lightly golden and the tails are slightly charred. DO NOT OVERCOOK. To see if lobster is ready, lift one of the pieces out and examine the lobster meat - it should be completely opaque and no longer translucent. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with the juice of one lemon.
In a large bowl with sides, place lobster tails, and pour over them all the juices in the pan. Garnish with fresh parsley or green onions. Serve with Garlic Scallion Noodles, lemon wedges, and your choice of a green vegetable.