Editor’s Note — In this monthly series, Eating Sustainably, we will feature delicious recipes for sustainable seafood created by chef and author Victoria Allman. To remain consistent, we will use only seafood listed as “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
The spiny lobster differs from Maine lobster as it has no claws. The meat is slightly chewier than its northern cousin but is just as tasty. It is found the tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Like the name suggests, their bodies have spines along the length of the tail that protect them from predators and make it difficult and painful to clean the sweet meat out of their shells. A spiny lobster matures for at least two years before it is legal size for catching. They cower under rocks and in crevices in the coral and generally hide during the day before coming out at night to walk across the ocean floor in search of food.
Yields: 8 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 head garlic, peeled
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 lobster tails, shelled *shells saved
2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined *shells saved
2 limes, juiced
12 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 jalapeños, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
2 tins hominy, drained
2 pounds red snapper, cut into 1” cubes
2 avocadoes, diced
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 head romaine, shredded
10-4” tortillas, cut into strips
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
Heat 1-inch of vegetable oil in a large saucepot over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Stack the tortillas and trim the round edges to make a square. Slice into ¾-inch strips. Fry 1/3 of the stack at a time, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon until crisp and golden. Pull from oil and drain on a paper towel-lined bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and set aside.
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and sea salt and sauté for 5 minutes. Cut the lobster shells in half and sauté in vegetables along with the shrimp shells for 5 minutes. Juice the limes into the shells and burn off for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, Mexican oregano, tomato paste, jalapeños, and cilantro stems. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain through a colander into a clean pot and simmer 20 minutes more. Add the hominy, red snapper, shrimp and lobster meat into the broth and simmer for 5 minutes until shrimp is cooked through. Season to taste.
Serve with the diced avocado, lime wedges, lettuce and fried tortillas on the side for people to dress their own bowls.
Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.