Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It's not just Lobster, it's Florida Spiny Lobster
The season is here!

Florida Spiny Lobster

The Florida Spiny Lobster season opened two weeks ago and the initial catches have been tremendous. I was lucky enough to be in the Florida Keys last weekend and probably/did consumed my body weight in lobster.  In this post, we'll take a look at this treasure from the sea and some of my favorite ways to prepare them. 

The Florida Spiny Lobster (also called Caribbean Spiny Lobster) season runs from mid August to the end of March. They are found in reefs in the coastal waters of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The commercial harvest averages about 6 million pounds with an annual value of over 20 million dollars. Measured in dollars, the spiny lobster fishery is the largest commercial fishery in Florida. Because of the warmth and salinity of the waters where they are found, they differ from a hard shell North Atlantic lobster. The meat is somewhat firmer and the flavor is slightly saltier.
Spiny lobsters are mostly nocturnal for safety reasons.  At night they feed on crabs and shrimp and during the day, the hide in crevasses in reefs for protection. 

Tickle Stick
When diving for spiny lobsters, you carry what's called a "tickle stick". You locate a lobster hiding in a hole then use this stick to tickle its under side, causing it to swim right out of the hole.  The stick also has markings on it used to measure the body of the lobster. From the front of the shell to just above the tail the  section must be 3" in length for the lobster to be legally harvested. 

My favorite way to prepare spiny lobster is either roasting or grilling. Baste the lobster meat with this recipe below and be generous. The
Half Split Lobster
extra fat will keep the lobster moist, tender and flavorful. 

If you're roasting a half split lobster, you can stuff the body cavity with your favorite crab stuffing.

Garlic & Parsley Butter Sauce
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Lemon, juiced
2 Tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbl. Flat leaf or Italian Parsley, chopped
Sea Salt to taste

In a small sauce pan, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add the chopped garlic and cook while stirring, until golden in color. Remove from the heat and immediately add the lemon juice and chopped parsley.  Season the taste with good sea salt and enjoy!

Chef Joe

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