The Delicious Spiny & Maine Lobsters- Asian Style

 Maine-lobsterIt’s fun to think about warm weather when March comes around even if we can’t travel to Florida or the Islands. Sunshine makes me think of warm seas and briny chowder. I can almost feel the sand beneath my feet while eating the delicious Spiny lobster that is found in waters throughout the Caribbean and surrounding Florida and Australia.

Contrary to popular belief these beauties are not closely related to the Maine lobster. Yet they are similar in appearance in that they have a hard bony shell and tails that are wonderful to eat. But it’s easy to tell them apart by their long spiny antennae and lack of eatable claws that can be eaten on the Maine lobster. In fact the Spiny lobster sort of looks like large crayfish.

The simple way to eat these delicacies is to remove their tails, cook them in boiling water, and briefly sauté them with butter and herbs. The rest of their bodies are discarded or used to make fish broth called velouté. But here’s an alternative that is no less wonderful.

Today’s recipe draws from an Asian dish I had in Chicago’s Chinatown. It’s simple to make and no less flavorful with Dungeness crab, shrimp, clams, and even chicken thighs. I sauté these foods with ginger, garlic, scallions, a touch or two of soy, the juice of lemon. No salt is added. A pinch or two of cayenne pepper is nice too. Actually all of these vegetables and aromatics are special with many different foods.

Spiny Southern or Maine Lobster Asian Style
Serves 4

4 spiny lobsters, 1¼ lbs each (or 2 Maine lobster, 2 lbs each)
3 inches ginger, peeled, diced
8 garlic cloves, diced
2 bunches scallions, chopped
1 tbsp lite soy
juice of 1 large lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp cayenne chili pepper

1. Heat water to a simmer. Remove tails by twisting off. Boil Spiny lobster tails, covered, at a simmer for 7 minutes. Cook Maine lobster tails for 11 minutes

2. Remove tails from the water and cool on a sheet tray.

3. Open the shell up flat on a cutting board and with the heel of an 8-10 inch chef’s knife, crack the lobster tail down the middle and open shell up. Then extract the meat from the shells using your hands or tongs.

4. In the meantime, prepare ginger, garlic, scallions, soy and lemon juice. Melt butter and olive oil at medium high heat and sauté in a large 10-inch skillet until soft but do not brown, 8 minutes.

5. Place the tails in the mixture of cooked vegetables, aromatics and cayenne pepper at medium-high heat and spoon the vegetables over the tails while it’s bubbling. Continue to do this for 4-5 minutes and remove the pan from the heat.

6. Place the tails and the mixture around the plate and on top of the tails. Serve warm.

Tip: You can freeze the remaining bodies of the shells until ready to make a broth if you like. If you are using Maine lobsters, you will want to also remove the meat from the claws and cook with the tails.

Chef Allan Zox

Check out Zox’s Kitchen. Visit www.zoxkitchen.com for details about past columns. For questions or comments contact Alan at azox@zoxkitchen.com

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