Lobster Tournedos with Cornbread

This recipe combines classic French cooking techniques with Southern ingredients, a signature of chef Erick Williams' cooking at Virtue in Chicago. The mild sweetness of the lobster meat and cornbread is intensified with the buttery, tart wine sauce, turning this into a decadent meal perfect for a special occasion.

Lobster Tournedos With Cornbread
Photo: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Christina Daley / Food Styling by Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 50 mins



  • Cooking spray

  • ¾ cup (about 4 1/4 ounces) yellow cornmeal

  • ¾ cup (about 3 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup whole buttermilk

  • 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Lobster and Toppings

  • 8 (3/4-ounce each) thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon slices

  • 1 cup dry red wine

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar

  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot (from 1 small shallot)

  • 2 cups (1 pound) cold unsalted butter, divided 

  • 8 cups water

  • ¼ cup, plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 4 (6-ounce) fresh or thawed frozen lobster tails 

  • 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) canned or frozen black truffle shavings (from 1 [1.74-ounce] can), well drained

  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives


Prepare the Cornbread:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Stir egg mixture into cornmeal mixture just until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking pan; smooth top.

  2. Bake in preheated oven until Cornbread is light brown around edges and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert Cornbread onto a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Slice evenly into 8 pieces. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Prepare the Lobster and Toppings:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and line with a piece of parchment paper on top. Arrange bacon in a single layer on parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven until bacon is crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.

  2. Bring wine, vinegar, cream, and shallot to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, undisturbed, until liquid has reduced to 2 tablespoons, 30 to 35 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, cut 1 1/2 cups of the butter into 1/2-inch cubes, and place in refrigerator until ready to use. Place 8 cups water and 1/4 cup of the salt in a large pot; bring to boil over high. Fill a large bowl with ice water; set aside. Remove pot of boiling water from heat, and add lobster tails. Let steep for 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer lobster tails to ice water; let cool 3 to 5 minutes. Discard water in pot. Remove lobster tails from ice water. Stretch 1 curled-up tail flat on a cutting board. Rest the blade of a large knife down lengthwise center of tail to hold it flat, then press knife down to cut tail in half lengthwise. Gently remove lobster meat from shell, and discard shell. Return lobster meat to bowl of ice water to rinse off any bits of shell. Repeat process with remaining lobster tails.

  4. Melt remaining 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan over low. Add lobster tail meat; cook, basting often with melted butter in pan, until lobster is warm and cooked through (turns bright orange-red and opaque), about 2 minutes. Transfer lobster to a paper towel-lined plate.

  5. Once wine mixture has reduced to 2 tablespoons, reduce heat to low, and start adding chilled butter cubes to pot, adding 1 or 2 cubes at a time and whisking rapidly with a wire whisk, fully incorporating butter between additions. Continue adding more butter, whisking constantly, until only 2 or 3 cubes remain. Remove pan from heat; add remaining butter cubes, and whisk until fully incorporated. Whisk in truffle pieces. Stir white pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt into beurre rouge sauce. The sauce should be thick and smooth.

  6. Place 1 cornbread slice on each of 8 plates. Break bacon slices in half crosswise, and top each cornbread slice with 2 bacon halves. Arrange lobster tails evenly on top of bacon, and cover lobster with beurre rouge. Sprinkle evenly with chives, and serve immediately.

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