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Langostine (or Langostino, or Langoustine): What is it?

Josh Brusin

March 02 2006 - 11:54 AM

Lango_langoOK… I’ve been on a quest for langostino. It’s come up several times in the past few weeks. A tv show about Iceland had a bit about them as a local delicacy (though not sure exactly what they were). The proprietor/chef at the Richmond Inn likes to use them and I had a plate of them a few weeks back at Las Islas Marias on Clark north of Devon. So I did some looking around.

It turns out last week that a restaurant, Rubios,  in California which was serving langostino instead of lobster in their “lobster burrito” has been allowed to – the courts said it was OK to call it that since it tastes the same…?! Needless to say spellcheck doesn’t recognize it either.

And funny how my guilty pleasure – Long John Silver’s just started serving lobster bites with Langostino. Red Lobster uses it in their lobster bisque…  See what happens when you start digging? It’s like the Truman Show. My life revolves around a crustacean of some sort. Even though it’s not shrimp, and not lobster either… at least not really.

I started calling fish markets, super markets, and eventually got several “Yeah we have that” answers prices varying from $32/lb to 2lbs for $15. So my escapade for seafood oddity began.

I started out hitting L. Issacson and Stein on Fulton for aesthetic
and price. 2lbs for $15? Please! It’s a really neat fish market. It
smelled clean and the fish looked great. However the langostino turned out tLango3o be
really huge ocean shrimp. So it was a bust. They did have wide short
lobster tails in the back in 5lb bags for $60 or so dollars but I
digress.

Dirk’s fish market further north on Clyborn actually had them but
they were $32/lb. They came in a box with big letters that read Scampi.
As you can tell by the pictures they are definitely not shrimp. I
snagged one for photo/taste purposes and got back in the car. If I can
get a plate of these for $14 in a restaurant there’s got to be cheap
langosino or whatever you call it somewhere.

The Fishguy Market
on Elston was a nice surprise. They have the same $32/lb boxes as Dirks
but they also had enormous Brazillian lobster tails the size of
burritos for $34/lb they weighed in starting around 2lbs each. They also
surprisingly serve sandwiches to go grilled right up behind the
counter. But no dice with cheap langostino.

The Devon Market 2 blocks from my house had a big bag of crawfish that the fish monger referred to as langostino.

So I’m still looking. At least I know what it looks like.

I blanched my specimen and popped the tail off, boiled again for 30 seconds and then shelled it and sauteed it quickly in champagne and lemon juice. It was basically one bite for about $8 but it was as sweet if not sweeter than lobster with a bit of a crablike texture. If I can find cheap langostino I’ll get them but not for $32/lb.

Some internet definitions:
• “Spanish for prawn” – BostonChefs.com, foodnetwork.com
•  a spanish tv series from 1987 – IMDB.com

From Wikipeidia:
“Squat lobsters are decapod crustaceans of the families Galatheidae and Chirostylidae, including the common genera Galathea and Munida. They are not lobsters at all, although they share a number of characteristics; they are, in fact, more closely related to porcelain crabs, hermit crabs and then, Lango2more distantly, true crabs.

Flesh from this animal is often commercially sold in restaurants as “langostino,” or sometimes (in perhaps less than ethical situations) called merely “lobster” when incorporated in sea food dishes.

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