Poached lobster tail with cauliflower and butter sauce

Cauliflower done two ways, caramelised and puréed, is here topped with a succulent lobster tail, which has been poached in a rich lobster and brandy stock. This poached lobster recipe from William Drabble makes a delightful dish for a special occasion.

First published in 2015





Cauliflower purée

  • 100ml of double cream

Caramelised cauliflower


  • Fine sieve
  • Liquidiser


Start by preparing the lobsters. Put the lobsters in a freezer. This will render them insensate. Boil some water and add a dash of white wine vinegar. Once the lobster is insensate, place it on its back with its claws tied and hold it firmly by the top of its head

Place the tip of a very sharp chef's knife on the head just beneath its mouth, lining the blade up with the lobster’s midline with the blade side pointed toward its tail


The first cut should be directed forwards toward the head, and the second backwards down the midline towards the tail


Pierce the lobster’s head downward, then place the knife tip just to the body side of the junction of its tail and thorax and cut through the midline. The procedure must not take more than 10 seconds. For diagrams and more detailed information, visit the RSPCA’s website


Once the lobsters are dead, pull each head away from the tail and pull the claws off


In the meantime put a big pan of water on to blanch the lobsters and have a big bowl of ice water ready to submerge the lobsters into


In another pan sweat the onions, carrots, garlic, celery and leek in olive oil until soft. Add the tomato purée and cook a little longer. Put to one side


Place the tails into the boiling water for about 20-30 seconds until the shell starts to turn red and the tail turns up. Remove the lobster tail from the boiling water and plunge straight into iced water


Put the claws in the water and bring back to a simmer then leave them to cool in the liquid


Remove the tail meat from the shell and place in the fridge


Crush the lobster bones. Put the pan with the sweated vegetables back on the stove and heat up. Add the lobster shells and cook until the protein has started to set


Add a little brandy and reduce. Add just enough water to cover the bones and add the thyme. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tarragon and cook for 3 minutes


Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Then pass through a fine sieve into a small pan, bring back to the boil and put to one side


Take the claws out of the water and remove the meat from the shell. Put to one side in a fridge. This meat can be used for a salad or to make this dish into a main course sized portion


For each portion of sauce take 100ml of lobster stock and add 10g of butter

Reduce this very quickly until it starts to thicken, then whisk in 2 tablespoons of cream for each portion. Put to one side
  • 2 tbsp of cream

Poach the lobster tails in the remaining stock, ensuring that you have enough stock to cover the tails. To poach the tails bring the stock up to the boil and drop in the lobster tails. Remove from the heat and leave to poach for 4 minutes

Remove, rest for a couple of minutes and then slice in half

For the caramelised cauliflower, take one large cauliflower and section it up into florets. Cut the florets into 2-3mm thick slices

Select all the well-shaped pieces for the caramelised cauliflower, reserving the less attractive pieces for the purée
Blanch the slices of cauliflower in boiling water until half cooked. Refresh in iced water and drain. To serve, caramelise in butter
For the cauliflower purée, finely chop all the cauliflower trimmings and place into a pan. Add a little salt and enough water to just cover
Boil very quickly until nearly all of the water has gone and add a little double cream. Boil for a couple of minutes until it starts to thicken slightly. It will burn easily so you need to keep it moving around the pan
  • 50ml of double cream
Purée in a liquidiser and pass through a fine sieve

To serve, place the caramelised cauliflower in a round on the bottom of a plate. Place the purée in the centre with the poached lobster on top. Pour the butter sauce over this and serve immediately

Beginning his career as an unpaid kitchen worker at the age of fourteen, William Drabble has steadily worked his way up to the position of Executive Chef at one of London's most prestigious hotels.

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