We use cookies on this site, please read our Data Protection Policy

Member Login Join Club

Poached Lobster Tail with Cauliflower and Butter Sauce, by William Drabble

Cook at Home

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 challenging poached lobster recipe from William Drabble makes a delightful dish for a special occasion. 



Prep Time

1 hr 50 mins

Cooking Time

60 mins


For the lobster 

  • 4 lobsters, each weighing 400g 
  • 1 large onion 
  • 4 carrots 
  • 3 celery sticks 
  • 1 leek 
  • 2 tbsp of tomato purée 
  • 5 tbsp of brandy 
  • 6 sprigs of thyme 
  • 6 sprigs of fresh tarragon 
  • 10g of butter 
  • 2 tbsp of cream 
  • 4 garlic cloves 
  • olive oil 

For the caramelized cauliflower

  • 1 large cauliflower 
  • 100g of butter 

For the cauliflower purée

  • 100ml double cream
  • cauliflower trimmings from the large cauliflower


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.
  • Cook the tails in simmering water for 3 minutes and the claws for 5 minutes. Put both into iced water for 5 minutes. Drain.
  • 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.

To prepare the vegetables for the stock

  • 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.

To cook the lobster tails

  • 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 re boil. Leave them to cool in the liquid.
  • Remove the tail meat from the shell and place in the fridge.

To make the stock

  • 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 the 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.

Preparing the butter sauce

  • 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.
  • 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 caramelized cauliflower

  • Take the 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.
  • Purée in a liquidiser and pass through a fine sieve.

To serve

  • Place the caramelized 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.

St. James’s Hotel & Club, 7-8 Park Place, St. James’s, London, SW1A 1LP

Cook at Home – Dine at Home – Dine at Restaurant

with the Luxury Restaurant Club

Not a member? Become a Luxury Restaurant Club Member to gain exclusive privileges at the UK’s most awarded restaurants, from £8 per month

Our Story

For the best mobile experience, download our mobile app

Discover why the Luxury Restaurant Guide is the gourmands app of choice. The app combines the convenience of a curated guide to all highest awarded restaurants, with an enhanced tier to access privileges and experiences.

Take dining to the next level and download our free app for iPhone and Android below.