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Langoustines have a pure and delicate taste; some argue the langoustine is even more delicious than lobster. Considered by many seafood connoisseurs as ‘the finest of all crustacea’, the langoustine is the prawn’s posh cousin. Pricier than prawns, langoustines are actually a relative of the lobster, but they don’t grow nearly as big. Nine or ten inches is considered the high end for a langoustine.
Langoustines are sometimes referred to as Norway lobster—they were originally found in Norway—Dublin Bay prawns, or scampi; though in the USA ‘scampi’ is also the name given to a shrimp dish in Italian-American cooking.
The langoustine is slim, orange-pink in color and resembles a very large prawn. The flesh, when cooked, is white, sweet and succulent. The shell retains its attractive color once cooked making it all the more appetizing when presented at the dinner table.
Langoustines live in salty seas, not fresh waters. They can be found as far north as Iceland and northern Norway, and south to Portugal where langoustine is a popular choice for special occasions.
The langoustine fits squarely into the luxury food category for a number of reasons all of which have a direct affect on the price of the desirable langoustine:
Firstly, the simple theory of supply and demand means that strict langoustine fishing quotas are constantly challenged by the popularity of langoustines for the table in Spain, France and other European countries.
Secondly, langoustine fishing is a tough, labor intensive task undertaken in cold, often rough seas.
And thirdly, langoustines don’t make happy travelers. In close quarters they destroy one another and even when accommodated separately they deteriorate quickly. The measures taken to ensure speedy ‘catch-to-consumption’ contribute to the langoustine price regardless of whether the delicacy is delivered alive or frozen.
Why are langoustines only available frozen?
Langoustines do not inhabit the extensive coastlines of North America, and as we’ve already mentioned—they do not travel well live. Your chances of walking into a fish market and buying a live, or ‘fresh’, langoustine in the USA are infinitesimal.
While buying fresh seafood is generally the goal of the discerning chef, when it comes to buying langoustines in the USA—frozen is even better. That seems counter-intuitive, but when you consider that Solex Catsmo langoustines are fast-frozen while still on the fishing vessel in icy seas, within hours of being caught, you’re treating yourself to seafood that’s fresher than many of the 'fresh' langoustines served in European restaurants
Depending on how you plan to serve them a general serving size is 4 langoustines per person. Averaging 5 to 7 langoustines per pound, or 22-31 total langoustines per order.
How to prepare
Thaw frozen langoustines by placing in the refrigerator the day before planning to consumer them, or by placing under running cold water.
To Prepare On the Grill: Butterfly your langoustines by laying them flat on a cutting board and using a sharp knife sawing through their shells lengthways. Only cut about 3/4 of the way through. Open them out and flatten them down gently with the heel of your hand.
Season the langoustines and cook them, open-side down, across the bars so they don't fall through the grill. Let cook for 2 minutes and then flip them over onto the shell side for another 30 seconds, then place them on to a serving platter.