Langouste or spiny lobster, is a 10-legged lobster with a long tail. There are over 100 species of langouste, and it thrives primarily in warm oceans, usually hiding among cracks in rocks and coral structures at depths of over 656 ft (200 m).
Langoustes thrive mainly along the Atlantic coast, Mediterranean Sea, Pacific Ocean, which is why the highest catches so far have been registered in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Africa, Mexico and the United States.
Langoustes can reach up to 23 1/2″ (60 cm) in length. They weigh an average of 7.5 lb (3.4 kg), although 24 lb (11 kg) ones have also been caught. Like lobsters, langoustes also have powerful spines, antennae and claws.
Langoustes are caught with metal crab traps, then transferred to cardboard boxes, where they can remain alive for up to a day.
The females lay eggs in a special slit found in their tail, after being fertilized by the males. It takes the fertilized eggs several months before they turn into larva and hatch.
Their lifespan is not currently known. Their meat is considered a delicacy.
History of Langouste
Even though Europeans and Americans have been consuming langouste for centuries, commercial selling of them began in 1800 in the state of Louisiana.
In 1930, the conditions for the transportation and storage of the crustacean delicacy improved significantly. During the same period, they developed much more effective methods for catching them.
By the mid-60s, this delicacy became extremely popular and the market for it grew substantially. At present, the US state of Louisiana records the largest catches of langoustes.
Species of Langouste
There are about about 100 species of langouste, although they are mainly divided into 5 groups:
- red spiny lobster - they thrive in the Atlantic and Mediterranean basin. These have a reddish-brown shell and their meat is considered to be the most exquisite;
- green spiny lobster - its shell is covered with white spots and stripes and unlike other species of langouste, it has 12 legs instead of 10;
- brown spiny lobster - it has a brown colored shell. You'll usually find it frozen in supermarkets;
- Caribbean spiny lobster - it has a brown shell with white spots and just like the brown spiny lobster it's chiefly sold frozen.
In the culinary arts, the meat from the belly area and tail of langoustes is used to make a plethora of dishes. Since the meat is especially soft it's perfect for making spicier dishes.
The belly area and tail can yield up to 2 lb (1 kg) of meat. The meat of langouste is not particularly long lasting; you should cook it as soon as you buy it. Otherwise, it'll spoil.
The 1st step in cooking langouste is boiling it in salted water for at least about 15-20 min. Optionally, you can season it further with bay leaf or dill. You'll know your spiny lobster is ready once it turns a red color.
You can also prepare a tasty langouste in the oven. Make small incisions in the belly area and fill them with salt, black pepper and butter. It'll be ready to eat once it gains a pink color and the cooked meat turns soft and white.
Benefits of Langouste
According to some theories, individuals who eat seafood more often are more friendly and much more calm. This is true at least in part, as delicacies such as langouste have been proven to lower stress and nervous tension.
Langouste, as well as all other seafood, is rich in vitamin B, PP, magnesium, copper and phosphorous, which every human body needs. Eating langouste on a regular basis will keep your nervous system in excellent condition.
The phosphorous plays a role in energy and carbohydrate metabolism, which maintains proper pH levels in the body. With phosphorous, group B vitamins are more easily absorbed by the body.