South Florida residents have been getting excited for more than just football season these days: lobster season is officially here. Eight months where lobstermen put their traps out and customers wait for the delicious bounty to be served at local restaurants.
If you’ve made a trip out on the water lately, you’ve probably seen hundreds of buoys sprinkled across the coast. These buoys are markers for commercial lobsterman traps. The traps are large pots where the lobster enters voluntarily to get to the bait. Bait is usually mullet or some sort of other seafood; some fisherman even use pig’s feet when the water is warm for its staying power.
Lobster: It's What's for Dinner
Restaurants all over Miami are featuring the tasty crustaceans. Joe’s Stone Crab boasts lobster tails, lobster mac n' cheese, and lobster ravioli; Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish offers lobster tails grilled or fried; El Floridita is serving up lobster bisque; and La Camaronera takes a unique spin - taking lobster meat from the head and tail, seasoned in their signature tomato base and deep fried.
In Florida, the catch is spiny lobster, which is very different from their better-known cousin, the clawed lobster or Maine lobster. The spiny lobster does not have claws, is found in warm waters, and some say their meat is tougher than that of a Maine lobster.
Dining In: Tips for Catching (and Cooking) Your Own
For those who catch lobster recreationally, a net and tickle stick are usually used. The stick is used to wrangle lobster out from underneath the coral rocks. Spiny lobsters have a large antenna, which is how to spot them amongst the rocks. (They can generally be found off the coast hiding amongst the 358 miles of coral reef.) There is a simple way to "dispatch" the lobster, also known as cold-blooded murder, in which you place the knife down vertically just before the tail and swing your knife down to split the lobster in half. Then, cleanly remove the tails in preparation for cooking. Tip: Keeping lobsters alive as long as you can prior to cooking them is the key to freshness.
Whether dining in or dining out, there's no better time to enjoy a local lobster dish in Miami. If you’ve bought your lobster from the supermarket or ventured out and caught one yourself, there are tons of great recipes, but one thing remains the same: there is really no better companion to luscious lobster meat than butter.