Confession. Before this weekend, I had never made grits nor had I cooked lobster.
Yes, true story. I know, for the few of you who do religiously follow this blog (thank you for that, it truly does mean the world to me), I probably just lost all credibility. But this truly is one of my main missions with CaliGirl Cooking. I want to show you that you CAN conquer the world (well, definitely the kitchen) and it’s never too late to just get in there and try something new. Who would we be if we were perpetually afraid of the unknown, afraid to step out of our comfort zone?
We’re so lucky to literally have the world at our fingertips these days. Google and the rest of the Interwebs have made it next to impossible NOT to know how to do something. YouTube stars are making millions, and a quick search will give you so many choices of who to listen to, you really can be quite selective. So what did I do when I decided I wanted to one-up the classic Shrimp ‘n’ Grits and make my own hoity-toity version with lobster? I went to my trusty laptop and read what the likes of Paula Deen and Alton Brown and Southern Living had to say about how to make THE best grits, and I read what all of the seafood markets in the world recommend as the best way to cook lobster. I then proceeded to mish-mash all of those recipes together into my very own “balanced” version of Lobster & Grits. The grits have just enough richness from the cheese but aren’t too over-the-top, sit-in-the-gut heavy since I skipped the milk or heavy cream in favor of chicken broth. The lobster is steamed to beautiful perfection in a combination of butter, lemon juice and Old Bay Seasoning and then served atop these cheesy grits.
Quick side note (in case you didn’t know, because I sure didn’t): Grits are basically polenta. So, if you can’t find a package in your grain/baking aisle labeled “Southern Style Grits,” you’ll do just fine if you can find a bag of uncooked polenta. Or, you could plan a leeeetle bit in advance and order Bob’s Red Mill Southern Style Grits off of Amazon and have a year’s supply of them sitting at your doorstep in two days. That thing I mentioned above about technology putting the world at our fingertips? Now, with the invention of things like Amazon Prime, we have absolutely no excuse not to step out of our comfort zone and try something new. Guys, being adventurous is way too easy!
So, let me tell you a little bit more about my Lobster & Cheesy Grits. The first step is to get your grits going on the stove. We’re making these from scratch (no quick-cooking versions here) so they’ll take a little while to become all creamy and porridge-like (and by “a little while” I mean all of 30 minutes.) Once we have the grits bubbling away, we can work on the lobster, which really takes no time at all. I think the most complicated step I faced in prepping the lobster tails was getting the meat popped out of the shell “just so” for that beautiful presentation you see there 😛 As we’re prepping the lobster tails, we also need to have a pot of water (laced with garlic and salt, of course) coming to a boil on the stove. We’re going to steam our tails over this, but not before dousing them in a sauce of butter, lemon, paprika and Old Bay Seasoning. We’re not messing around here.
Once the lobsters’ steaming sauna is ready for them, it’s literally less than 10 minutes before they’re done and ready to serve. See, so easy! We just grace our delightfully cheesy grits with our beautiful, fragrant, buttery lobster tails, serve up a glass of delicious oaked Chardonnay and we are well on our way to a delightful weekend brunch. (Or we could whip up a suitable brunch cocktail such as this, this or this.)
Now, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to jump right into this cooking challenge? I for one am feeling inspired to go check even more “Kitchen To-Do’s” off of my list. What are some cooking projects you’ve been dying to tackle? Let me know and we can conquer them together! XO
- 1 cup Southern-Style Grits I used Bob’s Red Mill
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter I prefer Kerrygold
- 1 cup shredded aged Gouda cheese
- 2 whole garlic cloves peeled
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 4-6 ounce lobster tails
- 2 wooden skewers
- 2 tablespoons butter again, I prefer Kerrygold
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- Before getting started with the recipe, we’ll need to prep the lobster tails. As I found out in my Internet research, lobster tails tend to curl up on themselves when they’re cooked. To avoid this, many recipes recommended spearing a wooden skewer through the center of the lobster meat. I tried this and it worked out perfectly! But first, we need to pop the tail meat out of the shells for easy access. To do this, cut a long slit along the middle top of the lobster’s shell, much like you would to peel a shrimp. Stop the slit just short of the end of the tail so it stays intact. Next, run your fingers along the sides, between the shell and the meat, to get the meat loosened up and ready to pop on top of the shell itself. You may need to be a little rough with the shell…Don’t be afraid if you hear it cracking! Once the meat is loosened, pull it up through the slit you cut and simply lay it on top of the shell. This makes it sooo much easier to eat! This is the point where you want to run the wooden skewer through the meat. Simply thread it through the middle and then trim the skewer so that the lobster tail still fits in the steamer insert.
- Now that we have the lobster ready to go, let’s make the grits. Combine grits, chicken broth, water, salt and pepper in a large saucepan on the stovetop over medium-high heat, using a whisk. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down heat slightly and cover saucepan. Let grits cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Grits will take on a porridge-like consistency once they are done.
- Once grits are cooked, stir in butter and cheese. You still want the saucepan on under medium-low heat, in order to avoid having the grits get “gummy.” Keep grits over low heat until lobster is ready.
- While the grits are cooking, prep the steaming pot for the lobster tails. I used my saucepan/steamer like this. Add salt and garlic cloves to the saucepan and cover with enough water that it hits about two inches below the bottom of the steamer basket when inserted. Bring to a boil.
- Once mixture is boiling, turn heat down slightly and place steamer insert over saucepan. Place lobster tails in steamer insert and then pour Old Bay-butter mixture over the tops of the tails. The extra sauce will trickle into the boiling water/garlic/salt mixture and make it even better! Cover the pan and steamer insert with a tight-fitting lid, and let cook for 5-10 minutes, or until shells become pink and tails are white and opaque.
- To serve, scoop grits into shallow, individual bowls, then top each bowl with a lobster tail. Garnish with an extra pat of butter or more cheese, if desired.
Wine Pairing Note: I know I mentioned that this dish would be perfect for brunch (and the cocktails that go with it), but if you’re more feeling this for dinner, I’d highly recommend pairing it with the classic, oaked Chardonnay (Alpha Omega’s Chardonnay being one of my absolute favorites, but you could also get by with a more cost-effective version such as this Lucas & Lewellen Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County or this Alta Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Pop, lock and drop it.