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Butter Poached Lobster Tails

With no exaggeration, these succulent butter poached lobster tails over linguine are one of the best meals I've ever had. They take a tiny bit of patience and discipline, but the result is well worth it.

Why this recipe works

The key to this recipe is creating a beurre monté, which sounds — and feels! — a little fancy but isn't hard at all. Butter normally "breaks," meaning the liquids separate from the fats, at 160°F. But by leading with a little bit of hot water and whisking the butter in a piece at a time, you can create a gorgeous, velvety poaching liquid that holds its own up to 190°F.

PREP TIME20 minutes COOK TIME20 minutes TOTAL TIME40 minutes


  • 8 4-ounce (113-gram) lobster tails

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water

  • 16 tablespoons (224 grams) butter, cut into 16 pieces

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped

  • ½ teaspoon truffle salt (see note 4)

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound linguine

  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Remove the tails from their shells: Use kitchen shears to cut all the way down the underside of the shell and then pry the shell open like a book. Wiggle your thumb between the meat and the top of the shell and remove the meat in one piece by gently but firmly prying it out of the open shell. If you see a "vein" (actually the digestive tract) running down the center of the tail, cut a slit into the underside of the tail and remove the vein.

  2. Make the poaching liquid / beurre monté. Set a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat (180°F if you have an induction burner or other way of keeping the heat constant). Pour in the water and let it heat up a bit. Add one piece of butter and whisk into the water until melted. Then whisk in the second piece.

  3. Add the garlic, truffle salt, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf and whisk to incorporate.

  4. One by one, whisk in the remaining pieces of butter, waiting for each one to melt before adding the next. Use an instant read thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the beurre monté. You'll need to keep it between 160°F and 189°F, aiming for 180°F.

  5. When all butter is incorporated, add lobster tails in a single, snug layer.

  6. Poach until opaque throughout, turning every 1-2 minutes, for a total of about 6 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, boil the linguine (if using) in well-salted water according to package instructions.

  8. If serving straight from the pan with crusty bread, sprinkle on the lemon juice, pepper, and parsley, and serve.

  9. If serving over pasta, remove tails to a plate and discard bay leaf. Add lemon juice, pepper, and parsley to the pan with the poaching liquid and stir to incorporate. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat. Place some pasta into each serving bowl, top with two lobster tails, and serve.

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