Now done, a grilled lobster tail awaits its fate. (Emily Hanson/Peninsula Daily News)

Now done, a grilled lobster tail awaits its fate. (Emily Hanson/Peninsula Daily News)

THE COOKING HOBBYIST: A lobster tail tale

COOKING WITH MY sister is one of my favorite things to do.

She doesn’t usually help all that much, but she almost always controls the music and basically turns our kitchen into a tiny dance studio.

It makes cooking much more fun.

And that is how, on a recent Saturday evening, I came to be cooking lobster tail to the best of 1990s hip-hop, R&B and rap.

Those love songs have never been more out of place than in my kitchen, but I love them so don’t judge.

This particular culinary adventure began with our weekly grocery shopping trip.

As we usually do, my sister and I wandered over to the seafood counter to see what they were offering.

And I felt a bit pouty when I didn’t see lobster tails in the case.

Now, to be fair, I’ve never actually bought lobster tails and didn’t even know I wanted to try cooking them until that very moment.

Despite my pout, my sister asked the seafood counter lady — I never catch her’s or any of the ladies’ names at the QFC seafood counter but they’re the best — if she had any lobster tails in the back.

Turns out, she did. They just weren’t in the display case because they weren’t on sale. Paying more than $25 for one large lobster tail seemed a bit extreme to me, but sis was footing the bill that day and she didn’t think anything of it. As usual.

I knew I had a lobster tail recipe saved somewhere and with very little digging, I came across the Yummly app on my phone. I’ve mentioned this app before. It’s part of the website www.yummly.com, which is a virtual smorgasbord of online recipes for all palates. In my saved “yums” — yes, that’s what favorite recipes are called — I once again found “Grilled Lobster Tails” by Derrick Riches on www.thespruceeats.com.

The recipe has just five ingredients, so I figured it would be simple enough for this first foray into cooking lobsters.

The most difficult part of the task, in fact, was thawing the completely frozen tail. My sister did this by way of making the plastic bag the tail was in very tight and then running very cold water over it for an hour and a half. She’s a helpful cooking companion as well as kitchen DJ.

Once the tail was thawed, she also tossed out a classic gem of a turn of phrase: “I don’t know what animals in nature eat these things or how because this shell is one tough mother …” well, it was inappropriate but hilarious.

Once she got the shell back cut in half so we could open it, I mixed together the few ingredients, used a brush to cover the flesh and turned to my preheated version of the George Foreman grill. This is where it got a bit tricky.

I don’t have any other grill to work with so I knew I had to make do. In this case, that meant leaving the top grill up while the tail, with flesh side also up, cooked for three minutes.

Then it was time to flip the tail. Here’s a joke for you: How many Hanson sisters does it take to flip a lobster tail without throwing it on the floor?

Apparently, the answer is two and we had to use a fork in each hand. It was a slippery little bugger.

We were also pretty sure that the flesh of the tail needed to be against the surface of the grill.

This created the added humor of us then using the forks to pull back the shell so the flesh could, we hoped, grill properly.

In the end, we prevailed over the lobster tail, pulled the flesh off the shell quite easily and enjoyed it with steamed vegetables and grapes.

Grilled lobster tails by Derrick Riches through thespruceeats.com

6 lobster tails

1/4 cup olive oil (or melted butter)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I used bottled. It was fine.)

1 tablespoon fresh dill

1 teaspoon salt

To prepare the lobster tails, first gather the ingredients. You’ll also need a cutting board and a large, sharp knife.

With the tails on the board, backside down, cut down the center to the shell the whole length. Fold the shell back (like you are opening a book), breaking through the shell.

If the shell doesn’t break, you can use kitchen shears to cut through it. The flesh should now be exposed.

Pat the lobster tails dry with paper towels.

​To grill the lobster tails, first preheat the grill for medium-high heat. (In my case, that meant plugging the grill in and waiting for the green light to come on. I have no idea what temperature it was.)

Combine the olive oil (or butter), lemon juice, dill and salt in small mixing bowl until the salt has dissolved. Brush the mixture onto the flesh side of the lobster tails.

Place the lobster tails onto the grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning them once during the cooking process. (For safeties sake, I cooked the lobster tails for 9 whole minutes, flipping after each three).

Depending on the size of the lobster tail, it may need to cook longer.

Lobster tails will be done once meat reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. (I couldn’t actually find my meat thermometer and just had to play it by sight.) The shells should turn a bright pink and the flesh should be opaque all the way through the center. (I’m pretty sure it was done)

Remove the lobster tails from the heat.

________

Emily Hanson is a copy editor/paginator for the Peninsula Daily News. She is also a beginning baker and clumsy cook. She can be reached at 360-452-2345 ext. 560-50 or [email protected] dailynews.com.

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