I’m back! Had a lovely time in Vieques, Puerto Rico. The island was beautiful, the people were friendly, and the food was outstanding. One of the highlights of our trip was being able to buy fresh local foods from the small markets around the island.
The pescaderia (fish market) was just down the street from the house we rented. When we wandered in there one day and discovered that they had a whole ice chest full of just-caught-this-morning lobster, we knew exactly what/who we were having for dinner that night.
We picked out one 3-pound and one 2-pound spiny lobster. Caribbean spiny lobsters don’t have claws, so all the meat is in the tail and body. They aren’t as tender as cold-water lobsters, but have sweet and rich flavor that I prefer.
The fish monger recommended just splitting the live lobsters down the middle and grilling them. But these guys were very active and not at all happy about the prospect of being the guest of honor at dinner. I tried to put the big one on the cutting board and got the distinct feeling that he was sure he could take this gringo in a knife fight.
Time for Plan B – par-boil them first, then remove the tail and split and grill that. No muss, no fuss, and no late night trip to the emergency room with a lobster spine sticking out of my hand.
I brought some salted water to boil in the largest pot I could find. One at a time, I dropped them in the pot, covered the pot, and boiled them for 10 minutes. I then moved them to the sink and sprayed them with cold water to stop the cooking and cool them down enough to handle.
Now safely dead, I flipped the lobsters over, grabbed the tail in one hand and the body in the other and carefully twisted off the tail.
Using the sharpest knife I could find, I split each tail down the middle. I found it easiest to cut through just the back first, and then come back around to cut all the way through the tail.
Once the tails were split, I removed the dark vein that runs along the back. I melted about a half stick of butter and gave them a light basting. Now off to the grill.
No Big Green Egg here, but they did have a very serviceable gas grill. I let the grill preheat with the burners on high for about five minutes. I turned the heat down to medium and put the trails on meat side down for about 5 minutes just to get some nice grill marks.
I flipped the tails over, basted them again with butter, and let them cook another 5 minutes, just until the meat was opaque. I basted them one more time and took them off the grill.
Sweet, tasty lobster with just a kiss of char from the grill – it doesn’t get much better. The meat was a little tougher than I would have liked, but the flavor rocked. We served them with tostones and some freshly-made pineapple salsa.
It’s vacation. There are no calories on vacation.
ONE YEAR AGO – Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole
TWO YEARS AGO – Where There’s a Grill, There’s a Way