Love that Lobster
The hunt for spiny lobster is a favorite Florida tradition
Florida’s spiny lobster season is open from Aug. 6 through March 31. The Florida Keys are the state’s most popular destination for recreational lobstering, but you can find plenty of them right here on the Treasure Coast. In the Keys, you can only keep six lobsters per person per day, but here the daily limit is 12 per person.
The first step for catching lobster in Florida is acquiring a saltwater fishing license with a lobster stamp. Many people use scuba gear, but a mask, snorkel and fins will do just fine in water above 10 feet. You’ll need a tickle stick, a net, and a good pair of gloves. In addition, anyone going after lobsters must carry a measuring gauge with them at all times. These devices are inexpensive and easy to find in dive and tackle shops. A “keeper” spiny lobster must have a carapace larger than 3 inches, measured in the water. Also, if you spot eggs under the tail, that lobster is off-limits.
Looking for lobsters is an underwater treasure hunt. You have to check every nook and cranny on the ocean floor, especially among rocks and coral. Sometimes you can see antennae sticking out of their hiding spot. When you spot one, use the tickle stick to coax it out of its hole and into your net. Generally, they’re pretty easy to catch. They’re fairly slow when they’re walking around, but when they’re spooked they tuck their tails under and scoot through the water like torpedoes. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the net ready right behind them. If not, you’ll get some exercise.
Catching lobsters is a great way to spend time with family and friends, young and old. It doesn’t get much better than a day spent on the water, swimming and catching lobsters, and an evening spent cooking and feasting on them together. It’s just one of so many things that makes you give thanks for the Sunshine State.
Grilled Lobster Salad
3 Florida spiny lobster tails
3 ears of corn, shucked
1 red onion, sliced lengthwise through the stem
Sliced ciabatta bread [optional]
3 tablespoons high-heat oil
Salt and pepper
8 cups torn butter lettuce
1 avocado, thinly sliced
3 radishes, thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes,
sliced in half
Key Lime Vinaigrette
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons key lime juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat the grill for high heat.
Whisk together the ingredients for the key lime vinaigrette and set aside.
Using sharp kitchen shears, slice
the lobster tails in half length-wise through the shell and meat. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Oil the grill grates. [Fold a paper towel into a 2-inch square, use tongs to dip it in oil and rub over the grates several times. You can also use non-stick spray made for grills.]
Brush the lobster tails, onions, and corn with oil.
Place the lobster tails on the grill, flesh-side down. Add the onions and corn to the grill. Turn the onions and corn once they begin to brown and cook to your liking.
Once the lobster tails are opaque and beginning to brown [about 8 minutes] flip them over and cook a few more minutes. Once they’re just about done, add the bread and grill on each side until golden and toasty.
Assemble the salad with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and radishes.
Slice the grilled onions and scatter over the salad.
Remove the lobster tails from their shells by turning them flesh-side down on a cutting board. Hold down the meat with a fork while you pry the shell up. They should pop out easily. Make thin slices across each tail almost all the way through and fan the tails over the top of the salad.
Slice the corn off the cob and sprinkle over the top.
Drizzle with key lime vinaigrette and tuck grilled ciabatta bread into the sides of the bowl.
Sept. 27, 2023