Langoustines are part of the shellfish family. They are also known as Dublin Bay prawn, scampi or Norway lobster. A close relative of lobsters, langoustines are smaller - similar in size to a prawn. 

The meat can be found in the tail and in the claws of larger langoustines. Unlike lobster, they do not turn red when cooked. 

Traditionally caught off the west coast of Scotland, langoustines are usually sold frozen with the shells removed but can be bought live and whole. 

Buying good-quality langoustines


Langoustines are in season from September until May, with a break in fishing in spring to allow for breeding. Make sure you buy sustainably-caught ones with the MSC label or those that are organic or pot-caught. A good langoustine will have a light fishy smell, bright eyes and a bright orange shell. Check that the shells, legs and antennae are not damaged. 

Storing and killing langoustines

You can store langoustines in the fridge or freezer. If freezing, blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes and cool first. 

 A humane method of killing langoustines is to freeze them for 20 minutes before cooking - putting them to sleep. 

How long do you cook langoustines for?


There are many ways to cook langoustines - they can be roasted, poached, grilled, fried, deep-fried or boiled. 

To boil, start with well-salted cold water and ensure that the pan is not overcrowded. Bring to the boil and boil for three to four minutes. Remove and allow to cool naturally.  Do not rinse as this will remove some flavour! Pull the tail from the shells and serve cold with a salad or reheat gently for use in pasta or paella. 

How do you cook langoustines on a barbecue

Similarly to lobster - half the langoustine, brush with melted butter and seasoning, then grill or barbecue for two to three minutes. 

How do long do you fry langoustines for?


To prepare the langoustine tails, blanch in boiling salted water for about 20 seconds, then remove and plunge into iced water. Remove the head and claws carefully, then crack the shell by gently squeezing the belly. Peel the shell and run a sharp knife along the back to remove the black intestinal tract. Poach in sauce, soup or stock, or pan fry with plenty of butter. 

Popular accompaniments for langoustines include lemon, garlic butter or aioli. They are also often found in 'Surf n Turf' dishes. For canapés, serve with light, zesty flavours like lime, chilli or coriander. 

How do you eat langoustines?


Pull the langoustine tail away from the head and claws. Pinch the tail between your finger and thumb and break the carapace (hard upper shell). The shells can be quite sharp so be careful! Pull the shell off of the meat, dip the langoustine tail and enjoy! For more, spoon out the heads or crack the claws, break off one end and suck out the succulent meat. 

Langoustine recipes: