Butter-Poached Lobster Tails with Caviar Mousse Recipe

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Photo from dinner at the French Laundry Restaurant in Yountville, California.

In the fall of 1999, after five years serving an inventive butter-poached lobster dish at the French Laundry, his celebrated restaurant in Yountville, CA, chef Thomas Keller published this recipe in his cookbook called The French Laundry. Thomas Keller said "I wanted to find a way to cook lobster gently, so it wouldn't be tough. I don't remember seeing it done anywhere else, and this made perfect sense to me. Who in America hasn't had lobster with melted butter?"

The recipe below is my adaptation of a combination of several recipes from different sources, with my minor changes.

Butter-Poached Lobster Tails

Don't forget to check out my seven-course Butter-Poached Lobster Tails dinner menu which includes these fabulous Butter-Poached Lobster Tails.

More of Linda's great Lobster Recipes and also check out check out my article How To Buy Frozen Lobster Tails.

Butter-Poached Lobster Tails with Caviar Mousse Recipe:

Recipe Type: Seafood, Lobster, Caviar
Menu: Lobster Dinner Menu
Yields: serves many
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 7 min


Caviar Mousse (see recipe below)
Dijon Mustard Sauce (see recipe below)
Beurre Monté (see recipe below)
1 lobster tail, per person, shells removed and tails on
Non-salted butter, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon water


Prepare Caviar Mousse and Dijon Mustard Sauce ahead of time.

Prepare Beurre Monté (see below).

When you are about an hour from serving the lobster tails, take them out of the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature.

When ready to poach the lobster tails, in a pan large enough to hold the lobster tails and using a cooking thermometer, bring the prepared Beurre Monté up to at least 160° degrees F., but not over 190° degrees F.

Depending on how large and how many lobster tails you are preparing, will determine how long to poach them; it usually takes from 5 to 7 minutes or until an instant-read meat thermometer register an internal temperature of 140 to 145 degrees F. Do not overcook - the lobster should not be rubbery but of a soft consistency - almost as if not completely cooked). The lobster should be white and not very opaque in color. When done, remove them from the Beurre Monté and serve.

This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.

To Serve:

Place a cookie ring on individual serving plate. Fill the ring with the Caviar Mousse (carefully remove the ring, lifting upward). Place prepared lobster tail on the Caviar Mousse.

Drizzle some Dijon Mustard Sauce around the food and sprinkle a few caviar eggs on sauce. Drizzle a little of the Beurre Monte over the lobster tail. Repeat with remaining portions.


Beurre Monté Recipe:

Definition of Beurre Monte: Butter is an emulsification of 80% milk fat, 18% water, and 2% milk solids. Heating butter above 160 degrees will cause it to "break" or separate into its different composition parts. A Beuree Monte is a techniques of keeping melted butter in an emulsified state between 180 degrees and 190 degrees, which is sufficient to poach meats or vegetables.


Butter, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon water


Using just a little bit of water helps the emulsion process in preparing Beurre Monté. Whether you emulsify 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) or 1 pound of butter, just one (1) tablespoon of water will do.

Determine how much butter you will need for the Beurre Monté by placing the lobster tails in a large enough pan, side by side; add just enough water to cover. Immediately remove the lobster tails, drain them, set aside; and measure the water in the pan. You will need this amount of butter to cover and poach the tails.

  • In a saucepan, bring the 1 tablespoon of water to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low and begin adding the chunks of butter (a little at a time) whisking constantly to emulsify.
  • Once the emulsion is started, more butter may be whisked in.
  • Hold the temperature of the Beurre Monté between 160 and 190 degrees F. for poaching. DO NOT BOIL OR THE MIXTURE WILL BREAK!  The mixture should have the consistency of a very thick butter sauce.

Make the Beurre Monté close to the time it will be used and maintain it in a warm place. If you have extra beurre monté, it can be refrigerated and reheated to use as melted butter or it can be clarified. The prepared Beurre Monte can be frozen and used anytime on vegetables or seafood.


Caviar Mousse Recipe:

I adapted these recipes for Caviar Mousse and Dijon Mustard Sauce originally by Guy Martin, Le Grand Vefour, France - Food Network Television, Episode #FW1A12

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups lightly whipped cream
1 shallot, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces caviar

In a medium-size bowl, gently combine the Dijon mustard and whipped cream until smooth. Add the finely chopped shallots and season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in the caviar without breaking the eggs.

May be made 1 hour in advance of being served.

Dijon Mustard Sauce:

4 tablespoons crème fraiche
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine crème fraiche with Dijon mustard and white wine until it thins out a little. Season with salt and pepper.

This sauce may be prepared several days in advance.


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