Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

Lobster Tails

So you’re hosting a big catered event and want to impress your guests? There is nothing more impressive than lobster…if it’s done right.
We set out to show that CVap® ovens can stage lobster tails for catering right.

Staging Lobster Tails Process

Ingredients

  • 4-5 oz Lobster Tails
  • Melted Butter
  • Paprika

Allow the tails to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, per label instructions. Lobster (and all shellfish, for that matter) is unforgiving regarding safe handling. Make sure to only thaw in the refrigerator, and cook promptly once it has thawed.

Preheat the CVap oven.

Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

The product we chose was Greenhead frozen lobster tails.

lobster

Settings

Cooking

  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Vapor: 136°F
  • Cook Air: Sous Vide

Holding

  • Hold Time: 2 hours
  • Hold Vapor: 136°F
  • Hold Air: Sous Vide

Prepare the tails by “boxing” them. This simply means to make an incision with scissors along the top spine of the shell. Crack the shell to carefully pull the lobster meat almost all the way out – BUT NOT COMPLETELY. Leave the end tail meat in the shell and lay the meatier portion on top, see image.

Douse raw tails with plenty of melted butter. Evenly sprinkle with a touch of paprika for color.

Staging Lobster Tails Results

To be honest, I LOVE crustaceans! But usually lobster is just meh. It probably has something to do with being hundreds of miles from the nearest coast. (yep, I’m a bit of a fresh seafood snob). Lobster is too expensive for the experience of chewing on rubber bands. Or at least that’s what I thought before cooking them in CVap. 

Lobster Tails
Lobster Tails
Lobster Tails

We reviewed these babies after about an hour into holding. The texture was tender and juicy. The flavor was buttery, briny, and sweet. They would be perfectly fine to serve in this state. But if you wanted to give them a little more texture or snap, you could finish them in a high-temperature convection, broiler, or even with a blow torch. This gives the lobster meat a toothier bite

CVap gives you so much flexibility and peace of mind. It ensures that all your hard work isn’t wasted by overcooking these tails and turning them tough and rubbery! Don’t shy away from utilizing them as a surf-n-turf option on your catering menu! CVap allows you to serve lobster with sous vide precision, but at a scale to feed scores of people.

What to do with all those lobster tail leftovers? Vac-packed and freeze them for later use! Or turn them into that New England favorite – lobster rolls!
That’s what we did.

We prepared two versions of lobster rolls:

OMG!!  So effing good!

Staging Lobster Tails for Catering
Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

Brown Butter Butter – A Delicious Science Experiment!

Brown Butter

The title of this post is not a typo. Beurre noisette is the French term for brown butter. Indeed, it’s typically a sauce in which whole butter is melted until the milk solids separate (from the butterfat), caramelize, and brown. Truly, it’s incredibly rich and delicious. Notably, the aroma and flavor resemble toasted hazelnut.

I wanted to brown the cream in a CVap before making the butter. First I checked with a few CVap experts to get their thoughts. The consensus was that it couldn’t be done. However, I was determined to give it a go, so I tried…and it worked!

The Brown Butter Process

I sought out the most unprocessed, unadulterated cream that I could find. It was plain pasteurized cream from Whole Foods. Critically, I wanted to ensure that there were none of the stabilizers that are typically found in more processed brands.

Cook and Hold Oven Set Points. Constant Cook ON (Green Light ON), 200°F Doneness, 1 Browning (new CVap 200°F Vapor Temp/205°F Air Temp), ten hours. The mason jars were filled about halfway and placed in the oven.

cream for brown butter

I checked the cream from time to time because of the setpoints I used. This was to ensure that the oven would not run out of water. Also, I needed to monitor the visual changes of the cream (Note: Do not agitate the cream when checking its appearance!). Clearly, if your oven’s auto water fill has been hooked up, this would be a great overnight process. Meanwhile, I increased the frequency of cream checks as it evolved, ensuring it was going in the right direction. Obviously the process could have gone further, but after ten hours, my bed was beckoning.

More cream for brown butter
yep, more cream for brown butter
another shot of cream for brown butter

Batches of Butter

The next morning I prepared the batches of butter. Previously I had reserved a pint of cream to make a control butter. Using a stand mixer and whip attachment, I followed the standard process. Next, I attempted to do the same with the browned cream.

I immediately noticed one glaring difference. Notably, the browned cream did not whip and aerate like the control. Consequently, there was no volume at all! I was skeptical at that point and about to concede in defeat. But I kept it whipping and it suddenly separated! At that point, I knew it would work. I’d be able to make brown butter butter.

What was my conclusion to this dairy experiment? Definitely, the milk solids are what caramelize; not the actual fat. When straining the buttermilk from the fat, the buttermilk had more of the delicious rich, nutty notes we expect from brown butter. Clearly, the fat did absorb those same characteristics, just not to as great a degree.

brown cream for brown butter
yellow butter and brown butter

Now what to do…. I’m thinking ice cream, beurre blanc, brown buttermilk dressings, sauces, smoked brown butter butter, crème brûlée, anything really that uses buttermilk, cream or butter!