Enjoy Florida’s Spiny Lobster
Published: September 6, 2008
Tropical Storm Fay may have wreaked havoc throughout the state but one positive affect has been the plentiful commercial harvests of Florida’s spiny lobster.
"Most of the boats have done very well," says Gary Graves, executive manager of Keys Fisheries Market and Marina in Marathon. The storm actually stirred things up and forced Florida lobster to be on the move. They are primarily caught off the Florida Keys and the southern tip of Florida. The season opened a couple of weeks before the storm and will run through March 2009.
Spiny lobsters, also known as rock lobsters, are crustaceans related to crabs, shrimp, crayfish and the Spanish lobster. A cooked spiny lobster produces a melt-in-your-mouth white meat that is mild with a slightly sweet flavor. It is low in calories and high in protein.
Normally, Florida’s spiny lobsters are either purchased whole or tail only. You should plan on about one pound per serving. Follow these tips to make the most of your culinary experience.
Cook lobster tail meat until opaque and plump.
Boiled lobster: Place in boiling salted water and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. For tails only, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes depending on size.
Grilled lobster: Brush tail meat with olive oil and place on grill, meat side down, for 5-6 minutes per side.
To remove tail meat from a raw, whole lobster: Break tail section away from the body. Cut through the underside of the tail shell with kitchen shears. Pull shell apart from top to fan tip and remove meat. Remove the sand vein with a shallow cut along the top of the meat.
In addition to some of the simple preparations listed above, Florida’s spiny lobster is excellent prepared in a variety of gourmet dishes like the following.
Creamy Lobster Medallions
1 1/2 cups wild rice, uncooked
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Florida carrots, chopped
1/2 cup Florida celery, chopped
1 cup Florida green onion, chopped
1 10 1/2-ounce can cream of shrimp soup
1/2 cup sherry
1/4 cup butter
hot pepper sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds Florida lobster meat, cooked and sliced
Prepare wild rice per package instructions. While rice is cooking, melt butter in a large saucepan and sauté the carrots, celery and green onion for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir sautéed vegetables into cooked wild rice. Set aside. Combine soup sherry, butter and seasonings in a double boiler and heat thoroughly. If sauce gets too thick, add more sherry. Add lobster meat and stir until heated through. On individual plates, arrange lobster slices on wild rice and spoon sauce over. Serve remaining sauce separately.
Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Value Per Serving: Calories 481, Calories From Fat 144, Total Fat 16g, Trans Fatty Acid 0.34g, Cholesterol 129mg, Total Carbohydrate 47g, Protein 35g, Omega 3 Fatty Acid 0.72g
Florida Lobster Quiche
1 9-inch pie shell, uncooked
1 1/2 cups Florida lobster meat, cooked and sliced
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 Florida eggs, well beaten
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Florida scallions, chopped
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread lobster meat in the pie shell; top with cheeses. Combine eggs, wine, half and half, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, scallions, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over lobster and cheeses. Sprinkle top with nutmeg. Bake at 350° F for 40 minutes until custard is set. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot or at room temperature as an appetizer or main dish.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Value Per Serving: Calories 320, Calories From Fat 168, Total Fat 19g, Saturated Fat 10g, Trans Fatty Acid 0.13, Cholesterol 318 mg, Total Carbohydrate 6g, Protein 28g, Omega 3 Fatty Acid 0.33g
For more Florida seafood information and recipes, visit www.FL-Seafood.com.