Lobsterette and langostino

Other Names: Lobsterette: Akazaebi (Japanese); cigala, maganto (Spanish); demoiselles de Cherbourg, langoustine (French); Dublin Bay prawn; dybvandshummer (Danish); kaisergranat (German); karavída (Greek); logostim (Portuguese); nefrops (Turkish); Norway lobster (Great Britain); scampo (singular), scampi (plural) (Italian); sjoekreps (Norwegian); tiefseehummer (German). Galatheidae. Langostino: Galthée rouge, munida (French); langostino (Italian); langostino amarillo (Spanish); langostino colorado (Chile). Nephropidae.

General Description: The lobsterette (Nephrops norvegicus_) is famed as the original “scampi” cooked in garlic, butter, and white wine sauce. The shell of this thin, elongated, lobsterlike creature is pale pink to rose-orange with claws that have red and white bands. Until the 1950s, fishers in Great Britain usually discarded them. They are now hugely popular but can be hard to find in American markets. They are usually cooked with their heads on. The similar New Zealand lobsterette (_Metanephrops challengeri) is now beginning to be exported.

The langostino (Pleuroncodes monodon) is a smaller crustacean often confused with lobsterette or the unrelated langoustine. The most important species is found in the deep, cold waters off the coast of Chile. After the fishery nearly collapsed in the early 1980s, strict regulations were enacted in Chile to ensure their sustainability. Langostino tail meat can be used in recipes calling for cooked crab, lobster, or shrimp.

Locale and Season: The lobsterette, found on muddy sea bottoms, is now the most valuable crustacean harvested off the Scottish coast. The langostino is harvested off Chile during its tightly regulated season, from May to September.

Characteristics: Lobsterettes resemble shrimp but have long, slender pincer claws and a narrow body. They are usually sold whole, alive or cooked. They are brownish pink and don’t change color much when cooked. The meat is full-bodied in flavor with sweet, tender meat. Langostinos range from 4 to 6 inches in length and resemble a short, wrinkled crayfish with extra-long pincers. It is seldom seen whole in the marketplace but is usually sold as frozen cooked tail meat.

How to Choose: Lobsterettes should smell sweet; larger ones yield more meat. Precooked shelled langostino tails are easy to use.

Storage: Store live lobsterettes as for lobster; defrost frozen lobsterette meat in the refrigerator overnight. Defrost
frozen langostinos in the refrigerator overnight.


1. Cook lobsterettes and langostinos as for shrimp, either whole or just the tails, or use to make bisque.

2. For grilling or roasting, butterfly the tail meat by cutting up the back and opening up flat.

Suggested Recipe: Dublin Bay Prawns with Lemon and Pepper (serves 4): Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a pan over medium heat, then add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, and cook
2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant. Add 8 whole butterflied Dublin bay prawns with 1/2 cup white wine, the grated zest of 1 lemon, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the tail meat is opaque, then add the juice of 1 lemon and a pinch of hot red pepper flakes.

Flavor Affinities: Brandy, butter, chiles, chives, cilantro, cream, garlic, lemon, lime, marjoram, olive oil, oregano, parsley, shallot, soy sauce, tarragon, thyme, tomato, white wine.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com