What’s Up, Hungry People!
Every so often, even a homegrown chef like me decides to go all out with a little splurge—because why not make a New Year’s Eve dinner or a fancy date night a bit more special with some top-tier seafood?
When I stumbled upon an offer for 10 oz lobster tails and scallops at a steal, the universe was clearly telling me to turn my kitchen into the hottest upscale dining spot in town (minus the hefty price tag).
Here’s What You Need
- Lobster tails: Provides the main protein and luxurious flavor to the dish.
- Butter: Adds richness and carries the flavor of the garlic and herbs.
- Olive oil: Used for roasting and cooking, adding a subtle depth of flavor.
- Garlic: Gives a robust flavor to the butter and complements the seafood.
- Salt: Enhances the flavor of all the other ingredients.
- Onion: Adds sweetness and depth to the dish when roasted.
- Fresh parsley: Offers a fresh, herbaceous finish to the seafood.
- Scallops: Sweet, delicate seafood that adds elegance to the meal.
- Garlic butter: Infuses scallops and orzo with garlicky flavor and richness.
- Orzo: Rice-shaped pasta that absorbs the sauce and stock well.
- Seafood stock: Provides a base for the orzo, enriching it with a marine savoriness.
- White wine: Deglazes the pan and adds acidity and depth to the sauce.
- Parmesan cheese: Brings a salty, umami flavor to the orzo.
- Lemon juice: Adds brightness and zing, cutting through the richness.
- Pepper: Adds a slight kick and balances the dish’s flavors.
- Lemon wedges: For additional spritz of citrus at the table as per taste.
The Garlic Butter of Dreams
I went full fancy with a classic piggyback lobster tail—oh, and let me tell you about this garlic butter. It’s the kind of stuff that dreams are made of. A couple of heads of garlic, slow-roasted to perfection, then mashed into room-temperature butter.
Believe me when I say, this butter is not just good—it’s “spread it on old boots and I’d probably eat it” good. While those cloves were roasting to a soft, golden brown, I also roasted an onion—a nice foil wrap, a dab of olive oil, and a two-hour roast to make it tender and sweet.
How to Prepare a Lobster Tail for Baking
Preparing a lobster tail for baking involves peeling and butterflying the shell so that the meat sits nicely on top, which is not only visually appealing but also helps the lobster cook evenly. Here’s how to do it:
- Thaw the lobster tails, if they’re frozen, in the refrigerator for about 24 hours or in a bowl of cold water for a couple of hours.
- Rinse the lobster tails under cold water to remove any grit or fragments of shell.
- Use kitchen shears to cut through the top shell. Start from the end closest to the tail and cut toward the end of the tail, but do not cut through the fin.
- Crack the shell: Use your thumbs and fingers to spread open the shell where you’ve made the cut. You want to open it wide enough to loosen the meat from the shell but keep the fin end attached.
- Loosen the meat: Carefully run your fingers between the meat and the shell, starting from the open shell side toward the fin, freeing the meat without completely detaching it from the tail’s end.
- Lift the meat: Gently lift the meat up and out from the shell, while still leaving it attached at the fin end.
- Sit the meat on the shell: Place the meat on top of the shell, centering it so it “sits” nicely for presentation.
Remember, while you’re doing this, handle the meat gently to keep it in one solid piece. Once the lobster meat is prepared and placed on the shell, it’s ready to be seasoned and cooked to perfection.
Scallops and Orzo: A Symphony of Flavor
Now, for the scallops, they got a quick sear in some of that magical garlic butter, and then they were set aside, only to watch as their pan was deglazed with a crisp white wine. The orzo was then pampered in a bath of rich seafood stock until it was perfectly al dente.
Lobster Tail with Scallops & Lemon Orzo Tips
- Roasting garlic and onion: Roast extra garlic and onion; they can be stored and used in other recipes throughout the week.
- Roasting garlic transforms its flavor, turning it sweet and complex. If you’re short on time, garlic can be roasted in advance and kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. As for onions, they become incredibly sweet when roasted, making them a great addition to sandwiches, salads, or as a topping on steaks.
- Preparing garlic butter: Make more garlic butter than the recipe calls for – it’s great on bread, vegetables, or even steak.
- Garlic butter is not just for this dish; it’s versatile. Spread it on toast for a quick garlic bread, melt it over cooked vegetables, or use it to finish a steak. Keep it in the freezer in small portions for quick use without needing to make a new batch every time.
- Cooking scallops: Don’t overcrowd the pan when searing scallops; they release moisture and won’t brown properly.
- When cooking scallops, make sure the pan is hot, and there’s space between each one. If they start to release liquid and are too close together, they’ll steam instead of sear, which means you’ll miss out on that gorgeous golden crust. If necessary, cook in batches to ensure they’re properly seared.
- Simmering orzo: Stir the orzo frequently while it simmers to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
- Orzo has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan due to its starchy nature. Keep an eye on it and give it a stir now and then. Also, taste it a few minutes before the package suggests; you want it cooked ‘al dente’ – firm to the bite.
- Cooking lobster: Watch the lobster closely as it cooks to avoid overcooking, which leads to rubbery meat.
- The key to a perfectly cooked lobster is timing; it should be cooked just until it’s opaque and has a slight bounce to the touch. An overcooked lobster is a tragedy and can turn what should be a tender treat into a workout for your jaws.
- Serving suggestion: Serve with a side salad or steamed vegetables to add a lighter element to the rich seafood dish.
- With the richness of the garlic butter and the decadent seafood, a simple side of steamed asparagus or a light salad can provide a refreshing contrast, balancing out the meal and making you feel slightly less guilty about indulging in such a luxurious dish.
Clean Plates and Classy Dates
Nick and I decided that this meal was our tribute to fancy feasts without the need for reservations or a black tie. As we clinked glasses and dived into our beautifully plated seafood, it was clear—we had both earned lifetime memberships to the ‘clean plate club.’
Seal the Deal with Seafood
Seafood has this fantastic way of transforming any dinner into an occasion. So whether you’re ringing in the new year or just trying to win some brownie points with your better half, this lobster tail with scallops and lemon orzo will have you patting yourself on the back for a job well done.
Get ready to dazzle with your pans and a touch of class because we’re about to turn that homey kitchen vibe into five-star dining—just don’t forget to put on some tunes and light a candle to set the mood. And remember, when cooking with seafood, it’s not just about the fancy feels; it’s about bringing the ocean’s bounty straight to your table.
After all the searing, roasting, and plating, Nick and I ended up with an epic feast that made us forget all about how we blew our grocery budget for the week (who needs budgets when you’ve got buttery lobster, right?). There’s nothing quite like the joy of twirling that orzo on your fork, finding the perfect bite of pasta, wine-soaked scallop, and that hint of lemon. And as you dive into that lobster tail, rest assured, the effort to butterfly and roast it was worth it. Let’s be real, garlic butter is the secret handshake of the food world; it just makes everything better.
And hey, if you’re looking to impress someone or just treat yourself, this lobster tail with scallops and lemon orzo is the ticket. Remember, seafood is like that one friend who shows up dressed to impress at every party – always a hit, always fabulous. So go ahead, make some waves in your kitchen. Enjoy!
Lobster Tail with Scallops & Lemon Orzo
FOR LOBSTER TAILS & GARLIC BUTTER:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut off about 1/2 inch from the top of each head of garlic to expose the cloves. Remove any loose papery skin. Drizzle each head with one tablespoon of olive oil and wrap loosely in foil. Place on a baking sheet.
- Cut the onion into wedges, leaving the base intact so that it holds together. Wrap in foil with a drizzle of olive oil and place on the baking sheet with the garlic. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until the garlic cloves are soft and browned, and the onion is translucent and tender.
- Allow the butter to reach room temperature while the garlic and onion are baking.
- Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and mash into the softened butter along with salt. Stir until well combined and smooth.
- Melt two tablespoons of the prepared garlic butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Space the scallops evenly in the pan, ensuring they are not too crowded, and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Remove the scallops from the pan and set aside.
- Deglaze the skillet with the white wine, scraping up the flavorful brown bits. Allow the wine to reduce slightly before adding the orzo and seafood stock. Bring to a simmer and let the orzo cook for about nine minutes, or until al dente.
- While the orzo is cooking, prepare the lobster tails. Split the top of each shell down the center with scissors and carefully lift the meat out to rest on top of the shell. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until the lobster shells are bright red and the meat is cooked through. Be careful not to overcook to avoid rubbery lobster.
- For serving, place 2-3 tablespoons of the remaining garlic butter in small cups and melt in the microwave for about 15 seconds or until liquefied.
- Finish the orzo by stirring in the lemon juice, and then mix in the cooked scallops along with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- To serve, arrange the lobster tails on a bed of the lemon orzo and scallop mixture. Add the roasted onion alongside. Provide melted garlic butter and lemon wedges for extra flavoring at the table.