Food

Grilling tips help make lobster tails a delicious Labor Day treat

By Susan SelaskyDetroit Free Press

Aug 29, 2018 at 5:08 AM

Who can resist big, juicy lobster tails kissed with the char of the grill?

With the Labor Day holiday weekend approaching, the unofficial end of summer, you want to end it on a good-tasting note.

Lobster tails and other shellfish cook quickly on the grill, so just follow a few tips and techniques so you don‘t overcook it. Nobody wants tough, chewy lobster.

Grilling lobster tails is easier than a whole lobster. Generally, when you buy the tails, they are all similar in size, which makes it easier to move each tail around on the grill. And you can, depending on the size of your grill, cook many of them at the same time.

You can grill lobster tails whole or cut them in half. Many sources recommend to precooking them a few minutes before grilling, but it‘s purely optional. If you plan on cutting them in half lengthwise, precooking is a good idea because it helps soften the shell, making it easier to cut.

To precook, place the tail in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Remove and place the tails on a work surface back side down. Use kitchen shears or a good chef‘s knife to cut through the soft underbelly and through the meat and shell.

To grill, preheat the grill to a low medium, about 350 degrees. Grill lobster tails over direct heat whether you cut them in half or not. If the heat is too high, you run the risk of the meat cooking too quickly, and it can turn tough. Too-high heat also can char the shells too much, and they won‘t look pretty.

Most grocery stores sell previously frozen lobster tails. Try to cook them the same day you buy them.

Warm-water lobster tails are bigger, so keep in mind that they will take longer to cook.

Although lobster and melted butter go hand in hand, keep in mind that butter will pack on the fat and calories. If you don‘t dip or douse the lobster with melted butter, it‘s a low-fat and low-calorie food with less than 1 gram of fat for 3 ounces cooked meat. And the calories come in under 100 for 3 ounces.

Try these tips for lobster-tail grilling ease.

• Brine: This is optional, but it will add moisture and plump them up. Place 8 whole tails in 16 cups of water with ½ cup kosher salt and ½ cup sugar stirred in. Set in the refrigerator for 2 hours before grilling. Remove from brine, and rinse the tails well.

• Cut: If grilling whole tails, use scissors to cut a slit along the back. Pry the shell open a bit so you can baste the meat with melted butter, if using.

• Skewer: Run an 8-inch or longer metal or wooden skewer lengthwise through the tail. The skewer prevents them from curling, whether it‘s a whole tail or half.

• Grill: Place tails on the grill, with cut side facing for whole tails. For tail halves, place them cut side down first on a clean and well-oiled grill for about 2 minutes. If you par-cooked the lobster tails, figure about 3-4 minutes on the grill. If you didn‘t par-cook, allow about 5-6 minutes depending on the size.

• Baste: To keep meat moist, melt some butter and season with fresh herbs. Baste the exposed lobster flesh with butter. Keep in mind delicate herbs like basil and tarragon lend slight nuances to lobster. Herbs like rosemary and thyme can be a bit strong. You can also mix in some garlic and chopped chives. Make extra butter to serve on the side if you like.

 

GRILLED LOBSTER TAILS WITH CONFETTI RELISH

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

Makes four servings

Nonstick cooking spray

¼ cup thinly sliced green onions

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or red onion

2 to 4 tablespoons diced yellow bell pepper

2 to 4 tablespoons diced orange bell pepper

2 to 4 tablespoons diced red bell pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

2 small garlic cloves, minced

4 (6-ounce) lobster tails in shells

4 cups watercress, trimmed

Coat a grill rack with cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the onions, shallots, yellow, orange and red bell peppers. Sprinkle with black pepper, salt and sugar. Drizzle vinegar and oil over mixture, and toss. Set aside.

Combine in a small bowl butter, thyme and garlic, stirring until well blended. Arrange lobster tails, back sides up, on a cutting board. Carefully cut shells lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, the middle of the meat. Open halves. (You may need to cut away some of the shell to expose the meat.)

Arrange tails, cut sides down, on the grill rack. Grill 2 minutes. Turn tails over; divide butter mixture evenly among them, spreading it evenly over flesh. Grill 2 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

Arrange 1 cup watercress on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 lobster tail and 2 or more tablespoons relish.

PER SERVING: 206 calories, 28 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 8 g fat (4 g saturated), 150 mg cholesterol, 552 mg sodium

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