Swimming in Gloucester felt like an ice bucket at 63 degrees. It was such an extreme contrast to the Florida Keys a few weeks later, where the water was 93 degrees. It was hot, especially when chasing after these spiny lobsters.Catching them is so much fun. I get excited when I see part of the antennas sticking out of their hiding spot. I try to have the net ready behind them when I tickle them out. They tuck their tails and shoot backwards like little torpedoes. Zoom!
So I had enough lobster this summer to experiment with recipes beyond simple grilled lobster tails. Lobster and pasta seems straightforward, but I find it either lacks flavor or the lobster is overcooked. I’ve found a way to make it flavorful with tender lobster: quickly sauté the lobster tails in their shells in butter. The sauce is made from that lobster butter and the sliced lobster meat is tossed in at the end.
Florida Lobster Linguini
- 2 lobster tails
- 9 oz. fresh linguini
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2/3 cup white wine
- 1/3 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- pinch of salt
To split the lobster tails, insert kitchen scissors in between the meat and the top part of the shell. Cut through the middle of the shell down to the tail. Turn the tail over and repeat, cutting the bottom half of the shell from top to tail. Cut through the meat in between the two shells.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions (fresh pasta should be boiled gently in salted water for 2-3 minutes). Reserve 1/3 cup pasta water. Drain the pasta and add a little olive oil or butter so it doesn’t stick.
In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-low. Add the lobster halves, flesh-side down. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer them to a plate to cool. (It’s okay if they aren’t completely cooked.) Reduce the heat to low.
Add the tomatoes to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Simmer for about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes (to taste). Raise the heat to medium. Add the wine and reserved pasta water. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced by half.
Remove the lobster from the shells: turn them flesh-side down on a cutting board and insert a fork into the top part of the meat. Pull the meat down as you pull the shell up. Slice the meat 1/4-inch thick. Add the lobster meat to the pot and simmer until the lobster is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the parsley. Serve on top of the linguini.