V-day Special: Lobster on a Budget

Ahhh. Valentine's day. The day of looooove.

A and I have celebrated Valentine's day in different ways, great restaurants and horseback riding being on the menu. But this year, we both have plans that require saving our money and so this much celebrated event will have to be experienced without having to dish out on expensive bottles of wine and restaurants so fancy that only a connoisseur would know where to find ( A is fancy like that ;) ).

This meal was prepared for a birthday celebration,
but is PERFECT for a romantic dinner :)
I'm sure many of you are in the same situation - want to do something nice and romantic, but don't have the mullah for it. That's why we bring you the Lobster on a Budget meal. This meal will require around 1.5 hours to prepare and will only cost you about a third of what you'd pay in a restaurant (depending on the lobster you get of course). It cost me around 30$ for 2 meals - including the wine.

With this, you can easily get the restaurant experience in the privacy of your home, and without having to take out the only savings you have left to please your mate. Actually, preparing this meal for them (or together) might be more rewarding for the both of you! ;)

This is a perfect pairing with the easy Beets Appetizer! Idea: Prepare a 3 course meal with these great recipes! :)

So, this meal requires 3 steps: the potatoes, the green beans and the lobster.

Note: If you're not the cooking kind, check out our great Valentine's day restaurants post and take your mate out for a nice night on the town!

Before we start, find a warm area where you can keep your finished dishes, or make some room on your counter to let them sit while covered to make sure they stay relatively warm when you serve them.

Step 1: Prepare Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

The Food Network's website has a lot of great recipes to try out and adapt to your liking, this one was definitely one of them.

  • 3 large Russett potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges.  
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons dry rosemary
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the potatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary.
  3. Toss until the potatoes are well coated.
  4. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer.
  5. Roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
  6. Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve.
Voilà! Easy peasy! Now, while the potatoes are roasting, prepare your green beans.

Step 2: Prepare the Lemon-Butter Green Beans

Gotta love the Food Network!

  • 1/3 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed, blanched in boiling salted water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts (optional, A doesn't like pine nuts)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  1. Drain green beans well and pat dry.
  2. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the green beans and toss to coat evenly. Cook just enough to warm through, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss to combine.
  5. Remove from the heat and put those aside
  6. Start prepping your lobster! :)
Step 3: Grill your Lobster

At this point, you have 3 options:
  1. If you own a bbq and it's been sitting through the winter, now's a good time to wake it up a little before the summer.
  2. If you have a grilling pan, that's great because you can just cook it on your stovetop!
  3. I purchased the lobster already cooked, so you may not even have to do anything with the lobster if you can't grill it (although you can always try a nice broiled lobster, but I wanted to try my new pan :))

Now that you've picked your option, on to the cooking. This marinade is fairly simple and gave a great taste to the lobster tail (which is really the only part you can do something with if you're grilling).

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 frozen lobsters (size of your choice. I found small-medium lobsters for 6$ each at my local Metro - jumped on those ones) - you can also use lobster tails if you feel it might be easier for you.
  1. Preheat the grill for high heat.
  2. Squeeze the lemon juice into a small bowl, and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in the salt, white pepper, and garlic.
  3. Rinse you lobster and flip it on it's back. Cut open the "casing" of the tail. Remove the top transparent shell so that the flesh is showing but is still sitting in the bottom shell.
  4. Baste the flesh part of the tail with the marinade.
  5. Lightly oil the grill grate and place the tails, flesh side down, on the preheated grill. (if you're using the grilling pan, it's normal that your lobster doesn't fit in your pan, its upper body might be dangling out a little). 
  6. Cook for 5 minutes, pressing the tail against the grill and basting frequently with the marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.
  7. Do the same with the second lobster.
Serve this deliciousness with some melted garlic butter (We used a chocolate fondue set to keep the butter melted and warm) and some homemade bread with some garlic butter spread.

Wine Pairing: Since this meal is full of butter, pair it with a nice Chardonnay. I know, the picture has red wine, but that's because A doesn't drink white. If you want to go with red, go with a Pinot Noir.

Bonus Step: Setting the Atmosphere

Yay! You've created an epic meal (granted, full of calories and cholesterol, but hey, it's Valentine's day)! Setting the table is key to creating the atmosphere:
  1. Find a white tablecloth and drape it over your table.
  2. Create a centerpiece with candles and empty bottles of wine.
  3. Plate the food so that it looks somewhat appealing (you be the judge). A good tip is to play with levels.
  4. If you don't have the lobster tools, use some nut crackers - we got some for $3 a piece.
  5. Have some jazz music playing in the background.
  6. Crack open that bottle of wine and enjoy your evening!
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