In California, fall marks the beginning of our local lobster season, which typically opens the last Wednesday of September or the first Wednesday of October and runs for 6-1/2 months.
California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) are found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Monterey Bay, California to the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico. In common with all spiny lobsters, the California spiny lobster has two large, spiny antennae, but no large claws on its legs. Among more than 40 species of spiny lobsters known worldwide, the California spiny is one of the largest.
California spiny lobster are gathered in traps or by hand by divers. The fishery is regulated by size, gear requirements and limited entry. Traps produce minimal habitat impacts and bycatch, most of which is released alive. Both Mexico and California fisheries represent a “Best Choice” for consumers looking for a sustainable source of lobster. Spiny lobster from California is also approved by our partner in sustainability, Seafood for the Future.
Although spiny lobsters lack front claws, pound for pound they tend to have more meat in their bodies than New England lobsters. Their ample tail meat is also denser and sweeter than their East Coast counterparts, yet still delicate in texture. As a result, these crustaceans are highly sought after around the globe.
Call us biased but we definitely prefer the taste of West Coast lobsters over the East Coast bugs. (Is that a throwdown brewing?) And here at Catalina Offshore we like nothing more than browning the tail meat in a vat pan full of butter. Finish off with a hit of lemon and salt, and call it good. Alternatively, season the tail with salt, garlic powder and paprika, then place on a foil lined baking sheet and broil for 10-14 minutes. We recommend positioning the rack about 8 inches from the broiler and keeping the oven door cracked. You can also steam or poach the meat for use in salads and sandwiches – lobstah roll, anyone?