Why This Recipe Works
Classic as it may be, steaming fresh lobster washes out its natural sweetness. Roasting, on the other hand, heightens and concentrates that delicate flavor. By stuffing and roasting readily available lobster tails (often sold frozen), we capitalized on this technique’s strengths and took the dish’s flavor over the top. Lobster tails turn chewy when overcooked, so after splitting the shell’s underside and loosening the meat to make room for the stuffing, we kept the rest of the protective shell intact. In preparing the filling, we combined chopped shrimp and buttery panko to mirror the rich, sweet lobster taste; chopped parsley, grated lemon zest, and dry sherry offered a fresh, well- rounded profile. We mounded the stuffing into the tails and roasted them in a baking dish; the panko became more gorgeously browned as the meat gently cooked through. These tails were full-flavored and totally indulgent; plus, this approach made it possible to tuck into a lobster feast any day of the year.
To thaw frozen lobster tails, let them sit either in the refrigerator for 24 hours or submerged in cold water for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
1 shallot, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dry sherry
8 ounces medium-large shrimp (31 to 40 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed, and chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 (5- to 6-ounce) lobster tails
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring often, until crumbs are dark golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer panko to large bowl and let cool slightly. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.
2. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add celery, shallot, and salt and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in sherry and cook until reduced slightly, about 30 seconds. Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl with panko. Stir in shrimp, parsley, and lemon zest until well combined.
3. Using kitchen shears, cut lengthwise through soft shell on underside of lobster tail. Cut meat in half using paring knife, taking care not to cut through outer shell. With lobster tail cut side up, grasp each side with your hands and crack outer shell, opening cut side to expose meat. Lift meat from shell to loosen, then tuck back into shell.
4. Arrange lobster tails cut side up in 13 by 9-inch baking dish, alternating tails front to back. Spoon stuffing evenly into tails, mounding stuffing slightly. Roast until stuffing is golden brown and lobster registers 140 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.