“New Year’s Eve Tradition”

We have a family tradition that’s been around almost as long as my sister and I have been. Almost every New Year’s Eve we spread old newspapers on the kitchen table, get out the nutcracker and cook up some fresh whole Maine lobsters or lobster tails. The idea originally was to reward ourselves for our hard work in the past year and to have a fun splurge to ring in the new year. However, as us kids grew into teenagers and then adults, my parents realized this was one way to get us to spend at least part of our New Year’s Eve with them. So far the scheme has worked. This simple recipe is for the tails, not the entire lobster. One lobster tail per serving.


  • 1 lobster tail per person
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red paprika
  • Clarified butter


  1. Steam lobster tails in a cooker with liberally salted water for 6 – 7 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, prepare the clarified butter by placing pats of butter (preferably unsalted, or cut back on the salt later in the recipe) in small glass ramekins, one per person, plus one additional ramekin for use in the recipe.
  3. Place ramekins in the microwave oven, cooking in 20-second increments, stopping once the butter has liquefied. Remove the “cream” that has floated to the top and put ramekins aside.
  4. Remove lobster tails from cooker, and, while still hot, crack the tails open to remove the meat. (A small, sharp knife that’s run through the underside of the tail works best.)
  5. Remove them after 10 minutes and toss the potatoes again.
  6. Brush on clarified butter and add salt, pepper and paprika to taste.
  7. Place lobster tails under a broiler for 2 – 3 minutes. Don’t overcook. Remove and serve.

*Wine Recommendation: Most wine experts would recommend a lean white wine, perhaps a French Sancerre, which often has the salty aroma and taste of the sea. We often go a bit bolder for our New Year’s Eve dinners, choosing a big California Chardonnay from a posh winery like Peter Michael or Kistler. It is the kickoff to a new year after all.

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