Eating California Spiny Lobster

The final step in getting to know the California spiny lobster is my favorite step, eating it!  

California spiny lobster has a tender, delicate, and sweet flavor that can be enjoyed in very simple preparations. It also has meaty yet buttery texture that holds up well to bolder flavors and spices. Because of this, there are so many possibilities for how to cook your lobster. It can be grilled, broiled, boiled, steamed, sautéed, stir fried, or even eaten raw. Since this lobster can be hard to find in the U.S. it shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone that there are not a whole lot of recipes written specifically for California spiny lobster. Not to worry however, California spiny lobster can be substituted into most Maine lobster or Caribbean spiny lobster recipes. Of course, you can also be creative and create your own recipe! If you come up with a good one, please share it with us and we will feature your recipe on our site! 

 Here are are few recipes to get you started:  

Grilled: One of the most popular ways to eat California spiny lobster in California is to grill it. 

Lobster Rolls:

Sashimi Style: (FYI this is a Japanese lobster in the pictures)

Lobster Bisque:

Lobster in Crazy Water:

Salt Roasted Spiny Lobster with Saffron Aioli

California Lobster with Herb Salad

Spiny Lobster with Creamy Orzo and Black Truffles

Lobster Tamales

Baja Style Lobster

Lobster Sausages

Finally, everyone asks me which I prefer, California spiny lobster or Maine lobster. As a Maine native, Maine lobster has always been and will always be my favorite food. However, I have met plenty of Californians who would say California lobster is their favorite, so maybe its a cultural thing. To me, Maine lobster has a naturally saltier, more buttery sweet taste, that I prefer. I can eat Maine lobster steamed with no butter or seasoning and find it flavorful and delicious. I would say that California lobster's flavor is more delicate and requires the cooking method to really bring out the flavor. The first time I tried California lobster I decided to steam it and dip it in butter, as I would with a Maine lobster and I found it bland. However, I have eaten it many times since, prepared in a variety of ways, and found it sweet and delicious. My favorite method is really simple and comes from my friend Dave. He splits the lobster and cleans it, then coats the meat with coconut oil and garlic, wraps it in aluminum foil, then grills it. The coconut oil and garlic really bring out the natural sweetness of the lobster. You can eat it straight from the shell like that or you can also dip it in butter for an extra 'healthy' touch. Also, while the tail is delicious and definitely the area that most people focus on, don't forget to try the meat at the base of the antennae and in the legs. It has a more crab-like texture and is naturally more sweet than the tail.

Local lobsters being unloaded straight off the boat, at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market in San Diego last season.

Now you are ready to go out and enjoy California's local lobster! If you are located in California, you may be lucky enough to live by a fishermen's market where you can purchase the lobster straight from the fishermen! There is one in San Diego, Newport beach, Ventura, and Santa Barbara. They are typically open early on Saturday mornings and are a great way to get to know and support your local fishermen, purchase fresh off the boat seafood, ask questions and learn recipes. Also remember that lobster season is short (October to March) and the price will most likely increase as the season progresses so don't wait!