In the fall, one of Catalina’s most delicious denizens is in season. California spiny lobsters are plentiful around the island and catching them – and eating them – is a favorite activity of both residents and visitors. Spiny lobsters can be caught with either hoop nets or while diving on scuba; either way requires a fishing license and complying with size and catch limits.
For the most part, the only edible part of California spiny lobsters is the tail. They lack the large claws found on their more well-known Maine cousins and what’s to be found inside the carapace can best be described as an acquired taste. The tail however, is a delicacy that is well worth experiencing.
Even after you’ve cleaned your lobsters, you’ll want to use care when handling them. They are called spiny lobsters for a reason and one of those reasons is the gauntlet of spines on either side of the tail. Gloves, or at least caution, are warranted when handling lobsters.
Lobster tails can be cooked in a variety of ways. Grilling fans will find that lobster tails are delicious cooked on grill. To do so, heat the grill to medium high heat and slice the tails lengthwise. Brush a bit of oil on the cut side and lay it directly on the grill. Cook for three to five minutes until the shell begins to lighten, then turn the tail over and cook for an additional three minutes.
If grilling is not an option, boiling is always a good idea when it comes to lobsters. For this method, you’ll need a large pot of salted water. Boil the lobsters for eight to 12 minutes and then drain them well.
Lobsters can also be baked. Heat the oven to 375 while you slice the top of the tail to remove the meat. Cook the tails for 20 to 25 minutes until they are opaque.
No matter how you cook your lobster tails, you’ll want to melt butter to accompany them.