I’ve never been a big fan of sea food. I like fish OK, and am coming around to things like shrimp, prawns and crayfish. I don’t like oysters or mussels, although I’ll at least take a taste if they’re around. I love scallops in small doses, and I can definitely get excited about lobster once a year. Here in France, in this family that I’ve made myself a part of, Christmas isn’t a special holiday to be celebrated, but more a reason to eat all of those expensive and tasty things that we don’t splurge on the rest of the year. Smoked salmon, foie gras, fatty roasted capon and of course, lobster tails. The only lobster tails I’d ever tasted as part of a home-cooked meal were Jé’s Mom’s “American-style” lobster tails. A sauce made of minced shallots, white wine, tomato paste and cream, and lobster that’s cooked over low heat directly in the sauce for hours. The taste was there, but something about the texture of the lobster bothered me. I wanted just-cooked, tender lobster, and what I got was tough-but-flavorful bits of crustacean. Jérôme had requested his Mom’s lobster once before, but this year I decided to find a recipe of my own.
And I found it in the winter issue of the French Saveurs magazine that showed up in my mailbox a few weeks before the holidays. I flipped through and found myself bookmarking almost every page, and then I saw this recipe. It was perfect. Lobster tails and anise-flavored liquor, something that was sure to waken Jérôme’s enthusiasm. The compound butter that the lobster bathes and broils in sounded heavenly, and the addition of breadcrumbs and a bit of crunch over just-broiled lobster? I knew that my search was over.
This recipe is actually very simple to prepare, and even easier to cook. The compound butter comes together in just a couple of minutes, and the longest, most tedious part is the preparation of the lobster tails. I left the bit of tail but cut off all the other weird arms and whatnot, and also removed the membrane covering the flesh-side so that I’d be sure my butter flavored the meat as much as possible. Once your tails are ready, all that’s left to do is slather them in soft, anise-tinged butter and broil them until they’re just-cooked!
Anis-broiled lobster tail
From Saveurs magazine (France), Winter 2012
Ingredients (serves 4):
3-4 medium-sized lobster tails
1 T bread crumbs
1/3 C butter, softened
1 T anise seeds
A few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
1 T anise-flavored liquor (like Ricard, Pastis, Cannebière, etc.)
Prepare the lobster tails, taking care to cut away the membrane that protects the fleshy side of the tail. Place them into a baking dish flesh-side up, crowding them as much as possible. Make the compound butter by stirring together the softened butter, bread crumbs, parsley and anise seeds. Stir or whisk to incorporate the liquor. Turn on your oven’s broiler and then slather the compound butter onto the lobster tails. Place them in the oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes, depending on their size. Remove when the meat is opaque and cooked through. Spoon the melted butter mixture over the lobster and serve immediately.