I rarely eat seafood, but I love langoustines. In France they are a delicacy and we have them for special occasions. When I went to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant for the filming of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, I was baffled when I found out the produce they wanted to promote was langoustines. Why?
I found out that a third of the world supply of langoustines was coming from Scotland, and was shocked to find out that 70% of those mini lobsters get exported to France, Spain and other countries.
It seems that the only way people eat langoustines here is as scampi. Really? Are people simply not aware that langoustines are just like lobster, only cheaper, smaller and easier to cook?
They look like prawns but they are so much tastier, with more refined, sweet meat. Just to prove how easy they are to cook and eat, I got the help of my four little ones, aged 1, 3, 5 and 7, to let you know how to get them, cook them, peel them and eat them.
First of all, you can choose to have them frozen or live. I thought I would go for live langoustines. I simply called the fishmongers at my local market. One always has them, the other could have them the following day. Easy! I collected them with Jumpy and Wriggly. If they are fresh, the claws should not fall. Do not hesitate to check you are getting the freshest langoustines.
Although they are not cheap (£15 for 10 langoustines), you have to remember they are mini lobsters, and a little goes a long way. We ate 4 as soon as they were cooked, had another 4 with wild mushroom butter (recipe coming soon) and the other two were cut into small pieces and eaten as a starter with avocado and lemon juice or used as garnish with langoustine bisque (using all the bits we had not eaten).
All you need, really, is a large pot of salted boiling water.
As the water was boiling in a large pan, Crevette acquainted himself with our langoustines.
Keep the heat as high as it goes and drop the langoustines in (I only cooked 4 at a time in my large Le Creuset pot.) After 3 minutes, take them out. Done! Easy, isn’t it?
Wait until they have cooled down and peel them. The claws should come off easily. Just set them aside.
Crevette (7 years 5 months) will show you how to peel langoustines.
Start by holding the head with one hand and the tail with the other. Pull. Set the head aside. All ‘bits’ you do not eat can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. You can use them to make langoustine bisque (soup) later.
Using both thumbs, break and loosen the shell.
The flesh should now slide out easily.
Slice through the back of the langoustine and devein. Enjoy the meaty flesh!
My favourite part is getting the delicious meat from the claws. Start by snapping the end of a claw to use as a toothpick. It makes it really easy to reach the meat hiding inside the claws. Beanie (5 years 3 months) and Jumpy (3 years 2 months) really enjoyed doing that and were fighting over the last claw!
The girls fed their baby sister (18 months), who loved it!
Here are some more ideas by the master himself, Jamie Oliver.
For more inspiration, check my Langoustine Pinterest board:
Oh, and if you want to watch the latest episode of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, click here.
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