Langostino, lobsterette, langoustine: no matter what this shellfish is called in various culinary settings, it's not true lobster, but it's still delicious. More closely related to hermit crabs, langostinos have the same sweet richness as lobster tails, at considerably lower prices. When you buy the tails frozen, more than likely you're getting langostinos that are already cooked. All you have to do is thaw them and include them in your favorite seafood recipe.
To thaw the langostino tails, leave them in the bag they came in to prevent them from drying out and getting gummy. Put the bag into a plastic or glass bowl and place the bowl in the refrigerator. Thaw the tails for 24 hours per pound—no longer than two days or you run the risk of contamination.
You could also speed thaw the langostinos by filling the bowl 2/3 full with cold water and letting the frozen tails sit in the water for up to two hours on the kitchen counter. Change the water every 15 minutes or so to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Once thawed, remove the langostino tails from the bag and gently blot them dry with a paper towel or a lint-free kitchen towel. Put them in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Before using, put the thawed tails between two paper towels and wring lightly with your hands to remove any excess liquid that could affect the dish.
Langostinos can be used in any recipe that calls for shellfish. Add them to a salad, a bisque or soup, or a po’ boy sandwich. One of the classic ways to prepare them is to sauté them in butter with garlic and white wine, and pair them with pasta.
For a simple way to enjoy langostinos, put the thawed tails into boiling water for no more than five minutes. Serve with melted butter for dipping.
If you speed thaw langostino tails, never use hot water; you run the risk of food poisoning.
Ruth St. James is a freelance writer as well as a produced playwright and script writer, including a documentary on religion in small societies for Discovery. As the former CFO of a consulting firm, she brings business acumen to the table, as well as expert knowledge in the fields of health and spirituality.