4300 Gulf Shore Boulevard North, Naples, FL
1186 Third Street South, Naples, FL
5317 Airport Pulling Road North, Naples, FL
NAPLES — For a couple of days every July, the waters of South Florida teem with boats in search of Florida spiny lobster.
The savory crustaceans are big business for professional lobstermen during the winter, but for hobbyists, today and tomorrow offer a great chance to catch and enjoy this local delicacy.
But what do you do with the lobster you just pulled up from the briny deep? A lot of folks will pull over to the closest sandbar, fire up the grill and cook those lobsters then and there.
While that is certainly a delicious option, especially with a crock of melted butter at the ready, the Florida lobster is a versatile shellfish that lends itself to a lot of excellent preparations.
We asked three local chefs who know a thing or two about seafood to give us some of their favorite recipes.
Note: All of the following lobster recipes call for pre-cooked meat. If you are cooking a whole lobster alive, then the best way is probably boiling them for about 13-15 minutes depending on weight. If you have tails only, try splitting them down the middle and broiling them for about 6-10 minutes until the meat has turned a nice opaque white.
Florida lobster salad
From Brian Rolland, executive chef of M Waterfront Grille
12 oz celery
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 oz chervil
8 oz mayonnaise
1/2 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz Marsala wine
1/2 oz brandy
3 1/2 pounds cooked Florida spiny lobster meat
1/4 oz chive
Drain and chop the lobster meat.
Dice the celery into 1/4 inch cubes.
Mix all the ingredients in a stainless steel bowl, then fold in the lobster meat last.
Adjust seasoning to taste.
Mix well and serve over mixed greens with seasonal fruits or vegetables
From Frabrizio Aielli chef/owner of Sea Salt
3/4 pound pre-cooked lobster meat
1 tablespoon garlic olive oil (see method below)
1/2 white onion, chopped
11/2 cup carnaroli rice (available at specialty food stores and high-end grocers. Can substitute Arborio rice)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth (or lobster stock)
2 roasted plum tomatoes (see method inside)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
10 pieces basil leaves, finely cut
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped, and extra for garnish
2 tablespoons white truffle oil (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Cut the lobster meat into 1/2-inch cubes.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, warm the garlic olive oil. Then add the onion. Sauté the onions on medium-high heat. Take care not to brown. Remember to continually stir throughout the whole process.
Add the rice. Cook the rice, stirring, for about two minutes. Add the white wine and stir constantly until the wine is absorbed.
Add the vegetable broth (or lobster stock) about a half-cup at a time, stirring constantly. Continue adding a half-cup of broth at a time, once the broth in the pot has been absorbed.
Then begin to add the roasted tomatoes, the marinara sauce, basil leaves and the lobster meat. Remember to stir.
Let the mixture cook for another four minutes. Then add the butter, Italian parsley, the optional truffle oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to make sure everything is well combined. Serve warm. Garnish with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese if you wish.
Chef’s note: Add another cup of vegetable broth if the risotto is too dry.
Garlic-infused olive oil
3 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
Place the garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan over the gentlest heat possible. Leave for 1 hour for the garlic to become very soft and infuse the oil.
2 medium-sized plum tomatoes, cut in half, lengthwise
pinch of salt
pinch of dried oregano
Place the tomato halves in a colander. Season with a pinch of salt and dried oregano. Let the tomatoes sit for two hours. This will help remove the moisture from the tomatoes and bring out the natural taste of the tomatoes.
Pre-heat oven to 125 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the tomatoes with the cut side down on the baking sheet. Drizzle some olive oil over the tomatoes. Let them roast for about 3 to 4 hours or until tomatoes are slightly shrunken and appear cooked and concentrated but not yet dry.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about five minutes before handling.
From Barry LeBlanc, chef at Steamers of Naples
8 oz. fresh cooked chilled lobster meat
2 oz. onion - finely chopped
2 oz. margarine
2 oz. cooking sherry
3 sprigs parsley - finely chopped
8 oz. Ritz crackers - crushed
Saute onion and margarine at medium heat until onion is translucent
Add sherry and cook for 5 min.
In a bowl, toss parsley with Ritz crackers then add onion mixture
Arrange lobster meat in a lightly (non stick) sprayed casserole or baking dish
Place stuffing on top of lobster meat
Bake for 15 minutes
Serve with melted butter
Connect with Jonathan Foerster at www.naplesnews.com/staff/jonathan_foerster