The Sunflower

Good Eatin’ on the Dime: Lobster tail à la agrumes

When+finished%2C+the+tail+should+be+perched+on+a+mound+of+warm+white+rice.
When finished, the tail should be perched on a mound of warm white rice.

When finished, the tail should be perched on a mound of warm white rice.

When finished, the tail should be perched on a mound of warm white rice.

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It seems a contradiction in terms to write exclusively on ICT eateries, only to forget that one can prepare culinary gems at home, or in some cases, your mother’s kitchen. In this incipient edition of Good Eatin’ on the Dime, we’ll cover how to prepare a fitting summer classic: lobster tail — in this case, lobster tail à la agrumes or citrus lobster tail.

This buttery, lemony, lime-tinged dish is easy to cook, cheap to shop for, and most importantly serves as a piece of that high society that Wichita’s downtown and waterfront dining proprietors would have you believe is only accessible to those willing to pay big with a 15-30 % tip to boot.

A lobster tail at Wichita’s Bonefish Grill will run you $15.90 per abdomen. Outback Steakhouse is the same story; there, a lobster tail with a sirloin filet lists at $26. Even at Delano’s Sakura Japanese Cuisine, one has to pay $15.99 for an order of lobster dynamite, the establishment’s take on spicy chopped lobster with sushi rice.

In stark contrast, we’ll be showing you how to prepare lobster à la agrumes, which consists of two crustacean tails, steamed white rice and honey butter-glazed greens. The combination yields enough food to easily serve two at home and requires a budget of about $13.

-What you will need for lobster à la agrumes
1. 4 6 oz. lobster tails
2. 4 onion slices
3. ½ cup butter
4. ¼ cup honey
5. 3 cloves garlic
6. 1 tsp. lemon pepper
7. ½ fresh lemon
8. ½ fresh key lime
9. 1 tsp. Nanami Togarashi 7 Spice (Optional)
10. 1 white onion
11. 2 tbsp. parsley
12. Botan white rice

First, you will want to pay your local market (Dillon’s, Grace Market, Aldi) a visit. With a bit of luck, you will be able to find packaged lobster tails that at times are sold for less than $6 a piece.

Be sure to spot lobster abdomens that have hard shells. If they are soft, chances are you are going to have less meat, less taste and more trouble with the broiling process. You can check their hardness by simply pressing on the outside of the cellophane wrapper. If it is supple to the touch, move on to a tail that has a more rocky feel to it — that’s what you want.

If you are planning to prepare you meal the same day, soak the lobster in cold water and put them in the fridge. Make sure to avoid soaking the meat in warm water. While this will provide quicker thawing, it will result in uneven levels of temperature throughout the tail.

While the tails are thawing out, it’s time to prepare the lobster-basting sauce. In a mixing bowl, whisk together your one fourth cup of honey, three chopped cloves of fresh garlic, and a half cup of butter. Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and begin to emanate a sweet and savory redolence, you are ready to boil the sauce.

Pour the mixture into a small to medium-sized saucepan and set the burner to medium heat. Then, stir until the thick sauce begins to boil slightly and take on a thin, creamy viscosity. What you have created at this point will later be used to baste the lobster tails before they are broiled.

At this point, it is best to put on a cup or two of white rice to steam, as the next steps in the process are generally pretty fast. By the time you are done, the rice and veggies will be ready to serve as well.

Before cooking the lobster tail, the hard outer shell must be sheared open to reveal its savory inner cuts of juicy, tender meat. Using sharp kitchen scissors, make one straight cut all the way along the lobster’s tail starting from the opposite end of the telson fin.

With the cut finished, make sure to detach the tail’s meet from the outside of the shell, removing any prevalent veins. These veins, aside from being rather tasteless and difficult to chew, tend to retain a lot of bacteria. For extra flavor during the broil, slice up one small white onion into fourths and place a slice underneath the meat inside the shell of each lobster tail. This will add an extra level of savory accent to your lobster. Finally, position each tail on top of a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and preheat your oven to at least 450˚F.

Then, using a pastry brush, apply a thick layer of the butter sauce to each tail. On top of the sauce apply the Seven Spice and lemon pepper. Atop the layer of seasoning, lather on one more layer of the sweet honey butter sauce. This will ensure that the piquant, Seven Spice, and lemon pepper are full integrated into the taste of the tail.

Just before broiling, squeeze a pinch of both lemon and lime juice on top of each lobster tail. Set the timer for between 10 and 12 minutes, depending on the size of the lobster tails, and periodically check for burning while the meat is in the oven.

Your finished tails should be auburn orange in color with a slight crisping along the incision of the shell. Meat should be opaque and tender to the touch. The last step is to sprinkle on some fresh parsley flakes and serve atop a bed of steamed rice covered with yet another layer of honey butter garlic sauce.

Side with a bit of grilled asparagus and the meal is complete.

With that, the indulgent things, the seemingly god-like, aristocratic and largely hoity-toity dishes really can be prepared at home. You don’t have to recklessly spend money you don’t have on menu items that are meant for those with a penchant for embracing the popular expense of things.

All you need is a trip to the market and a few simple accoutrements; given that, you’ve got yourself something pretty tasty.

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