Butter Poached Lobster Tails

Butter Poached Lobster Tails

Baby Lady and I love lobster. When we went to Maine recently to visit our youngest son, we ate lobster every day we were there. It was lobsterlicious. Nevertheless, variety is the spice of life. So, when we returned from Maine we didn’t eat lobster for a while opting for a variety of other proteins. Well, that ended last night. Can you say umami? Are you hungry?

Look at this meal. Beautiful, isn’t it? It tastes just as good as it looks. The lobster is very tender, silky and succulent. The Israeli couscous is toasted, cooked with a hint of lobster and lemon zest. It’s then garnished with sautéed cubed trumpet mushrooms and peas. The whole dish is then topped with some of the flavored poaching butter. The net out is a luscious, delicate, and sophisticated meal.

I haven’t played with the immersion circulator for a few weeks and have been looking for an excuse to use it. I just didn’t want to cook something for several days. Then it came to me while we were at the market. There, in front of me, were the prettiest lobster tails. I knew then what I was going to do, namely poach the lobster in a modified beurre monte. As Thomas Keller explains, “Lobster tail, removed from its shell and poached in beurre monte, is like none other you’ve tasted–sweet, rich and remarkably tender.” It is dreamingly good! Here’s what we did.


  • 4 lobster tails, 6 oz each
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 Tbsp rich coconut milk
  • 20 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup trumpet mushrooms, cubed
  • 1-1/3 cup israeli couscous
  • 1-3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2Tbsp basil, finely chopped


Prepare the Lobster

Take the lobster and run a skewer down the center the length of the tail.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Place the lobster tails in a pot and cover with boiling water.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Allow the tails to steep in the boiling water for 2 minutes. At 2 minutes, remove the tails from the water. Reserve the water as this is the water you will use for the couscous.

Using kitchen sheers, cut the shell down each side cutting the the swimmerets and europods. Next, using your fingers, remove the bottom part of the shell. Then gently pry the meat from the top of the shell.

© REMCooks.com

Once the meat is removed from the tail, starting at the tip, roll the tail into a ball and insert a toothpick to keep it together.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate while making beurre monte.

Make the Lemon-Coconut Flavored Beurre Monte

Add the juice of 1 lemon to a sauce pot along with 1/2 of the lemon zest.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add 1 Tbsp rich coconut milk. Rich coconut milk is the part of the milk at the top of the can of coconut milk so do not shake the can to blend it together.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Heat the coconut milk and lemon juice over medium low heat. Then begin adding the cubed butter little by little whisking constantly. You do not want the butter to separate.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

When completed you are ready to poach the lobster.

Poaching the Lobster

To poach the lobster, place the tails in a plastic bag and pour the beurre monte over the top.

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Vacuum seal

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Place in water bath at 60 C/141 F and cook for 30 minutes

© 2012 REMCooks.com

For the Israeli Couscous

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to pot. Add couscous and stir to coat with oil. Over medium heat, sauté until the couscous is a golden brown color, roughly 5 minutes.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Using the water from steeping the lobster, add 1-3/4 cups of water to the pot along with the remaining 1/2 of the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, roughly 10 minutes. If the couscous is too dry, add more broth by tablespoonful to moisten and allow to be absorbed into the couscous.

While the couscous is cooking, sauté the trumpet mushrooms and heat the peas.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

When the couscous is done, add the couscous to the sauté pan with the mushrooms.

© 2012 REMCooks

Add green peas and gently stir to incorporate.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

To Serve

Add 1/2 cup of Israeli couscous to a bowl. Remove the toothpick from the tail and place on top of couscous. Spoon some of the poaching butter over the top.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Finish with finely chopped basil and enjoy!

Butter Poached Lobster Tails

27 thoughts on “Butter Poached Lobster Tails”

  1. Only a couple of weeks left in our fresh lobster season here in Ireland (according to the fishmonger). I need to get a couple and try something. This looks wonderful Richard. It’s only 9 in the morning and I am salivating.

    1. Hi, Conor. Thanks for the very nice compliment. I wish Texas had a live lobster season. We get very nice shrimp but with the BP spill we’ve been reluctant to eat the Gulf seafood. Lobster, on the other hand, is “imported” and cost a minimum of $10/lb. I will be looking forward to reading what you do with the lobsters. We love lobster in all sorts of preparations and are always on the lookout for new things.

  2. Suddenly and without warning, the chicken I’ve planned for tonight’s dinner has all the appeal of a Charles Dickens’ gruel. This looks so very good, Richard, and must have made one great meal.

    1. John, you make me laugh. I bet that chicken dish was incredibly good. Thanks for your very nice compliment. This was a really pretty and delightful dish. I really enjoy the sous vide technique.

  3. A beautiful dish indeed. The perfect protien to sous vide no doubt and I’ve heard much of those Maine lobsters, I’m far too envious when I hear of folks enjoying whole lobsters for 5 pounds when we pay a paltry $45 Aud here in Australia, (but I digress) the israeli couscous looks incredible, as does the buerre monte sauce and that beautiful poached lobster.

    1. Thanks, Alice. I hadn’t played with the sous vide system in a while and the lobsters were perfect! Both in terms of flavor, texture and presentation. I’m glad you liked it! 🙂

  4. This looks absolutely delicious, with a greatcombination of flavors and textures.
    I love lobster, but unfortunately it is a bit of a luxury item over here that we don’t eat on a regular basis. I like the idea of using coconut milk, something I should try. I know that Thomas Keller says to cook lobster tail at 60C/140F, but have you ever tried at 46C/115F? I found that to be even more tender, although I haven’t tried it with as much butter as you did.

    1. Hi, Stefan. Thanks for your comments. I actually looked at your blog post before I made this meal wondering about the temperature range. I opted for 60C/140F because you commented it worked well and because almost everyone recommends 60C/140F. Keller poaches his lobster in a bath of beurre monte as opposed to sous vide which is the reason I used a significant amount of beurre monte and sealed the bag in the chamber vacuum sealer on 20 lbs for a light vacuum seal. Next time I do this I will try 46C/115F and let you know what I think.

      1. I would love to hear what you think of the 46C/115F. I’d like to do some more experiments myself.

        I’ve also read somewhere that Americans like lobster to be ‘rubbery’, where Europeans like it more tender. I’m definitely European on this count as well 😉

        Based on experiments by Nathan Myhrvold with duck confit, I am inclined to think that using more or less of the butter won’t make much of a difference as long as the lobster is completely coated in both cases. Unfortunately I don’t have a chamber vacuum sealer, but I could use a ziploc pouch.

        1. Americans have interesting palates. I like my shellfish tender but I eat fish rarer than most. I also know not to cook fish completely in the oven (or however else you cook it) because residual heat continues to cook the meat while it rests, resulting in a rubbery texture. I find people who live on the coast know better. It’s the people in the heartland who don’t understand. Many of them eat their steak well done, too. 😮

          Given I am a newbie to sous vide technique, I’m not certain it makes a lot of difference as to the amount of butter used for poaching, but the flavor of the lobster is extracted into the butter which provides a beautiful sauce for dinner or a compound butter for later use. I have roughly 1/2 cup remaining that I intend to use on some seafood dish, soon. 🙂

  5. Hi Richard, Conor and Stefan here 🙂 We are going to make this for dinner tonight, because we thought it would be cool to make one of your recipes together 🙂 Live lobsters are waiting in the fridge as we type this. Posts coming up later…

  6. Coconut milk??? Now, that is creative!!!! Just enjoying reheated lobster in my sous vide today and checking on the right temp. Is 141 too high? Some folks suggest 130. Will try your recipe with my next lobster cook!

    1. Hi, Allan. 🙂 Thank you for dropping by and the nice compliment. I think you will love this dish. It’s one of our favorites. 141 F worked well and the lobster was tender and juicy. My friend, Stefan (http://stefangourmet.com), who knows more of sous vide than I, likes to cook his lobster sous vide at 115 F. I haven’t tried it at that temperature but do intend to try.

  7. Another American weighing in. We found 115F produced more of a lobster “sushi” which is definately not what we are used to. It’s possible a lifetime of overcooked lobster has inured us so that we can’t recognized correctly cooked. In any case, my next try will be 141F. Thanks for the great site!

    1. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. Let us know how you like the 141 F vs the 115 F. I still haven’t tried 115 F and would love your input.

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