Pernod Butter Lobster Tails served with Baked Saffron Rice & Butter Lettuce Hearts with Lemon Cream


Serves 4
½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp (45 ml) white wine or champagne vinegar
3 tbsp (45 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) Pernod
1 tbsp (15 ml) fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 whole Atlantic lobster tails, about 6 oz (170 g) each
lemon wedges, to serve
3 tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 bay leaves
4 to 5 large pinches saffron filaments, or to taste
2 cups (500 ml) white basmati rice
½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
1 tsp (5 ml) finely grated lemon zest
½ cup (125 ml) whipping cream
3 tbsp (45 ml) light olive oil
3 tbsp (45 ml) fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
tender hearts of 2 heads hot house butter lettuce, washed, dried and chilled
small handful fresh mint leaves, roughly torn


  1. To prepare the lobster, in a small pot over medium heat, combine butter and garlic. Cook until butter is melted and garlic has softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add vinegar, lemon juice, Pernod, fennel and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another few minutes. Divide mixture into 2 bowls: ⅓ for basting and remaining ⅔ for serving. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, butterfly lobster tails. Using kitchen shears, cut down center of each shell lengthwise, starting from the end opposite the tail fin, continuing down until you reach the tail, but do not cut through the tail. Use your thumbs and fingers to spread open the shell on top, being careful of sharp edges. Gently pull lobster meat upward, separating it away from bottom shell, leaving the end attached to the tail fin. Re-form empty shell underneath and arrange the row of meat on top. Generously brush lobster meat with reserved basting butter and season with salt and pepper. Transfer lobster tails to a small heavy baking sheet or heavy‑duty heatproof baking dish and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
  3. Preheat broiler to high and remove baking sheet or dish from refrigerator. Place lobster tails under broiler and cook until meat is opaque and lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. To serve, warm reserved Pernod Butter. Transfer lobster tails to a serving platter and serve with Pernod Butter, lemon wedges and Baked Saffron Rice. There will be enough butter to serve with the rice as well.
  5. To prepare the saffron rice, preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). In a large ovenproof saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and bay leaves and sauté, stirring, until onion is softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add saffron and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add wine and simmer over moderate heat until nearly absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Cover with a tight‑fitting lid and transfer to oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from oven and let stand, covered, until ready to serve. Remove and discard bay leaves before serving.
  6. To prepare the Butter Lettuce Hearts with Lemon Cream, in a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine garlic, lemon zest, cream, olive oil, 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to thicken cream slightly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Place lettuce in a large bowl. Toss lettuce and mint with remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Add a few spoonfuls of Lemon Cream and gently toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle a little more Lemon Cream over to taste, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Any leftover dressing will keep for up to 3 to 4 days in refrigerator.
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