Cruisers rave about the San Blas Islands. And I get it. Totally. These are remote islands off the Atlantic coast of Panama inhabited by a few local Kuna Indians. The islands are tiny, with canopies of coconut palms shading the scattered make-shift dwellings of the locals.
I had heard about these islands from the import shops where I have purchased a number of needlework pillows created by the Kuna women. These women sell their unique embroidery, known as Molo, beadwork and other artifacts to the cruising tourists.
But the best gifts the Kuna Indians bring to a Galley Pirate are the live lobsters and crabs delivered to your boat in dugout canoes. With some awkward communication punctuated by the few Spanish words we knew and the few English words they knew, bartering began. Lobster size, quantity, price in American dollars, all factored into the the negotiations. After less than 10 minutes the knife came out and the painful-to-watch tail dismemberment ensued. (not my choice of death for the poor little creatures, but common practice for the locals.) Within a matter of moments we would have a bag full of 3-4 lobster tails for our evening meal.
As it were, we ended up having fresh lobster for three nights in a row. Two of the nights we grilled the tails, one night we steamed them. They were all delicious!
Simple Grilled Lobster Tails
4 lobster tails
4 tablespoons butter plus 1/4 cup drawn butter
Heat up your gas grill to medium-hot. With sharp scissors cut a slit down the underside of the lobster tails. Break open a bit to expose the lobster meat inside.
Grill, cut side down for 4-5 minutes. Turn the tails over, slather with a tablespoon of butter on each tail, and grill for an additional 8-10 minutes with the grill cover closed.
The meat should begin to puff up out of the shell and the shells will turn pink.
Serve hot with a bowl of drawn butter and a light side dish or two. Tonight we served it with leftover Red Beans and Rice and a salad.
Lobster Tail Scampi
(for 2-3 people)
4-5 small to medium lobster tails
1 cup of water
1/3 cup melted butter
1 pressed garlic clove
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan
Heat 1 cup of water in a one quart sauce pan to a low boil. Add the lobster tails and steam for about 12 minutes, until pink. Prepare your pasta while the tails cool down. Cook and drain the linguini. Immediately press one clove of garlic into the hot linguini and stir until the garlic permeates the linguini. Add a tablespoon or two of the melted butter and blend into the linguini. Set aside while you get the meat out of the lobster tails.
Once the tails have cooled down enough to handle, pull off the tail fins. Poke a fork into the tail end and push the lobster meat out the large end. If this isn’t working because the tails might be too curved, cut a slit up the under side of the tails, split open and pop out the meat.
Place the linguini on each plate along with a couple tails. Drizzle both with remaining melted butter and serve with a crisp salad.
We will have more about the San Blas Islands…when this pirate returns and recovers… in our “Adventures” section.