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HERE IN THE U.S., the Spanish word langostino describes the squat lobster. It’s neither prawn, nor shrimp, nor a lobster, actually closer to the hermit crab. But our local Trader Joe’s has Chilean wild-caught Langostino Tails that we sure enjoy. Here’s my recipe for sauteed potatoes, bell peppers and langostinos, along with a few tidbits on these little crustaceans.
Back in March 2006, the Federal Trade Commission swooped down on the Long John Silver’s chain for advertising “Buttered Lobster Bites,” which sure tasted good to me. However, in its infinite wisdom and eschewing gustatory deceit, the Food and Drug Administration required the “langostino” qualifier adjacent to any lobster listing that wasn’t the American lobster. What’s worse, Long John Silver’s TV ads even featured big-clawed Americans.
This Lobstergate was settled by Long John Silver’s terminating its TV ad campaign and changing its in-store menus to comply with the langostino moniker.
But, wait, there’s more.
In April 2006, Rubio’s here in southern California got snared in a Superior Court net for selling lobster taco and lobster burrito made with, you guessed it, squat lobster.
And, as recently as February 2016, Red Lobster was outted for being merely Red Langostino.
To me, these crustaceans sure look (and taste) like little shrimp, which, I admit is a term that sounds redundant. They also remind me of crayfish, which is okay because in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, that’s what they are.
Enough legalities. Let’s cook dinner. (Pause here to do so.)
The potatoes, onion and bell pepper go into the wok’s hot butter and olive oil first. They’re stir-fried until the onion becomes transparent and the potatoes brown here and there.
Then in goes the garlic. I’ve found that it can get over-done and bitter if put in too soon. Once everything looks almost done, the wok is deglazed with a slosh of Pinot Grigio which I happen to be quaffing.
The langostinos are already cooked; they need only heating and making friends with the other ingredients.
Buen apetito! ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2016