Sous Vide Buttered Lobster Tail, Hen of the Woods, Bone Marrow, Pearl Onions

This dish is very easy to make look beautiful without much effort and is one of the few recipes in Thomas Keller’s Under Pressure a newbie can attempt.  It does take a significant amount of time, but if you plan well and do it over several days the compilation and finishing touches are minimal.  This is another component dish where leaving one or even two of the ingredients off the plate won’t be detrimental.  So if some of the pieces seem to difficult or time consuming just skip them.

The bone marrow is really the lengthiest part of this dish since you’ll want to spend a few days drawing out as much of the blood as possible.  If you’ve read some of the other recipes that feature bone marrow (Bone Marrow Sauce), you may wonder why the extra step is needed here and not there.  In this recipe we’ll essentially be using the marrow raw with a quick fry at the end.  So it’s important to have a very clean and pure product.  In the sauce recipe we cook the marrow at 185°F for an hour so we’re killing anything bad that might be lingering.

Butter Poached Lobster Tail

Ingredients – Serves 6

Bone Marrow

  • Six 1 1/2 inch pieces of marrow bones
  • Canola oil
  • Flour

Lobster Sauce

  • 350g red wine
  • 50g peeled and diced carrot
  • 25g sliced shallot
  • 100g sliced button mushrooms
  • 25g sliced onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 live lobster
  • 1 kg vegetable stock
  • 0.9g xanthan gum


  • 6 uncooked lobster tails
  • 681g (6 sticks) butter
  • Fleur de Sel (or Kosher salt)

Hen of the Woods

  • Canola oil
  • 4 clusters of hen of the woods mushrooms, trimmed
  • Kosher salt


  • 12 red pearl onions, peeled
  • 12 white pearl onions, peeled
  • 4g sugar
  • 2g Kosher salt
  • 90g water
  • 30g butter


Bone Marrow

  • Soak the bone marrow pieces in a bowl of room temperature water for 20 minutes to loosen them.  Try to gently push the marrow pieces out of the bowl in one piece.  If it doesn’t come out easily soak for another 20 minute in slightly warmer water (not hot or you’ll melt the marrow).  And if it still doesn’t work use a paring knife to gently loosen it.  At the end you’ll want to have 6 cylinders of marrow approximately 1 inch long each.  
  • Place the marrow pieces in a bowl of cold water and place in the refrigerator for 48 hours changing the water every 6 – 8 hours.  This process will help draw out the blood in the marrow so it’s important to change the water more frequently in the beginning.  You don’t want the marrow to be sitting in the leeched blood.
  • Reserve the marrow pieces in clean water in the refrigerator until just before serving.
  • To finish – Heat a film of canola oil in a skillet until very hot.  Coat the marrow pieces with a light dusting of flour and fry until golden brown on all sides (about 30 seconds per side).

Lobster Sauce

  • Combine the red wine, carrot, shallot, mushroom, onion, bay leaf and thyme in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil for 3 minutes then strain into a metal container set over an ice bath to cool.  Reserve the vegetables.
  • Fill a stock pot large enough to hold your live lobster with just enough water to cover it (but don’t put him in yet).  Bring the water to a boil and then drop the little guy in (and put a lid on it if you don’t want to be reminded that you are a murderer).
  • After three minutes, remove the lobster from the water.  Twist off the tail (this can now be used as one of your 6 uncooked lobster tails or you can use it for something else).  Twist off the claws and put them back in the water for 5 minutes.  These you don’t need at all, so melt some butter and enjoy a snack while working on the sauce.
  • Chop off the lobster’s head and throw it away.  Don’t worry, he’s no longer in need of it.  Turn the body on it’s back and pry it open.  Remove and discard the tomalley (light green pasty stuff), the gills (look like feathery things), and the dark green roe (coral) if the lobster is female.
  • Add the lobster body and the reserved vegetables to the cooling red wine mixture, cover, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
  • Strain the marinade into a saucepan (reserve the vegetables and lobster body) and bring to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes and then strain through 2 layers of cheesecloth.
  • Place the reserved vegetables and lobster body into a metal pot and cook on medium heat to evaporate all the liquid and gently roast.  Add the boiled and strained marinade and cook on medium until all the liquid has evaporated and the pan is dry.
  • Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half (to a sauce like consistency).
  • Strain the sauce through two layers of cheesecloth and discard the solids.
  • Add the xanthan gum and blend thoroughly with a hand mixer.
  • Refrigerate and reserve until needed.  Gently warm through in a small pot.

Glazed Onions

  • Pre-heat the water bath to 185°F
  • Place the red and white onions in separate vacuum bags.  Add half the sugar, water, salt, and butter to each bag.  Vacuum seal or if you do not have a chamber sealer use a ziploc bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Cook for 35 minutes.  Chill in an ice bath if not using immediately.
  • Pour the onions and the contents of their vacuum bags into two separate pots.  Boil to reduce all the liquid to a syrup like consistency and roll the onions around to coat.
  • Keep warm till needed.


  • Heat a water bath to 125°F
  • Remove the lobster tails from their shells.  I use a mixture of patience and brute force to rip them out of their shells.
  • Place each lobster in a vacuum bag with a stick of butter…yes an entire stick.  The point is for the lobster to be poached in butter so you need enough butter to cover the tail once it has melted.  Don’t worry, you will discard the butter after cooking.
  • Place the lobster in the water and cook for 15 minutes.

Hen of the Woods

  • Heat a film of oil in a saute pan until hot.  Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and sautee until golden brown on all sides (about 1 minute per side)

To Assemble

  • Divide the lobster sauce among the six bowls.
  • Place lobster tail upright in the center of each bowl.
  • Garnish with 2 red and 2 white onions, the fried marrow piece, and a fried mushroom.
  • Sprinkle a little fleur de sel or Kosher salt on top of the lobster and serve

Butter Poached Lobster Tail


  1. Jamie says

    Don’t discard the lobster butter. It’s liquid gold. Use it to fry mushrooms the next day or whatever appeals 👌

  2. Jamie says

    Hi –

    One small correction to your recipe – you really want to kill the lobster for the sauce before putting it in the pot. The best way is to drive a chef’s knife through its head just before putting it in – there’s a + right on their head that’s basically a perfect target. Plunge the knife through that and you sever the brain and the die instantly and painlessly.

    The recipe looks great and I’m going to try it for NYE dinner tomorrow!



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