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These native Florida lobsters do not look like lobsters from other parts of the United States and they do not taste the same either. They are delicious in their very own unique way. Their appearance is significantly different too. Spiny lobsters do not have pinchers like Maine lobster or lobster found in the cold waters of the United States. The Florida spiny lobsters have two large, cream-colored spots on the top of the second segment of the tail which differentiate them from other lobsters. They have long antennae over their eyes that they wave to scare off predators and smaller antennae-like structures called antennules that sense movement and detect foreign chemicals or substances in the water.

Preparing the Lobster

Preparing fresh or flash frozen Florida Lobster is easy. Removing the heads or shells is a different matter altogether.  Not hard, but learning the technique can definitely make it a much better experience.

Shopping tip:  If you are buying your lobster from a local Marathon or Florida Keys market, ask them to remove the heads and antennas at the very least when you purchase whole lobsters. Knowing how you are going to prepare the lobster when you get them home can be a real help. If you are grilling, boiling or broiling lobster tails in the shells, you obviously want them to remain in the shell. If you are preparing the lobster without the shell, as in this recipe, ask them to remove the shells also. It will save you time and hassle.  

Cleaning the Lobster

How do you clean a whole Florida spiny lobster If you caught it on your own or bought it whole?  Easy!    

  1. Hold the tail in one hand and the body and head of the lobster in the other. With a quarter turn or twist along with a pull, the tail will easily separate from the body of the lobster.
  2. Drain any liquids, remove any membranes or other debris from the tail and tail meat. Sometimes I simply rinse the open part of the tail at this point.
  3. Break off one of the antennae (to use in removing the waste and sand vein of the lobster). Using the wide end of the antennae, stick it through the hole or annal cavity of the lobster at the bottom of the tail.  Then slowly pull the antennae out and the vein will come out clean with it due to the small one-directional spikes on the antennae. This is very similar to de-veining a shrimp.  
  4. If you want to remove the shell from the tail, take sturdy kitchen shears and cut the lobster tail down its belly to remove. To do this, turn the lobster over so that its belly is looking up at you. Now cut down the middle of the tail if it is a small lobster or cut down each side if it is a large lobster. At this point, you should be able to pull the meat from the shell.

Once you are ready to start the cooking process, the most important thing to remember about preparing lobster is to not overcook it! You want it tender and juicy as it cooks very quickly. Do not turn your back to do something else in the kitchen. Have every other task done before you actually turn on the heat to the lobster – regardless of the cooking manner you are using.

Florida Spiny Lobster – YUM any way you prepare it!

Ingredients:

• Fresh or recently thawed Florida Keys Spiny Lobster

• Coconut Aminos, 1 bottle

• Butter, half a stick

• Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)

• Minced or pressed garlic (to taste)

Instructions:

Cut shell off of fresh or recently thawed lobster. Cut into bite size pieces.

Melt butter in a pan on low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes (not too many so lobster is not overpowered). Add coconut aminos to the melted butter. Add Coconut Aminos to the melted butter. Add lobster pieces and cook only until the lobster just turns white all the way through. Do not overcook. It cooks fast!

We love to serve this with a fresh salad and cubed avocados!

Yield: 8 servings
Nutritional Notes: Healthy and low-calorie protein, rich in minerals

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