Thursday, November 12, 2015

Grilled langoustines with olive oil, lemon and chilli

Sometimes I try to find ways in which to highlight a specific ingredient, or explore a new recipe that will make me appreciate the protagonist of a dish even more. I long to find ways in which to expand my culinary repertoire, my skills and my palate.

And other times, I just want to enjoy the main ingredient in all its glory, all its beauty and simplicity. Especially when said ingredient is langoustines. I have tried a number of recipes featuring langoustines in the past, mainly the classic one of langoustine pasta, I have tried them slathered and sautéed in copious amounts of butter, the French way, but truth be told, this is the only way I fully enjoy them and appreciate them for what they are; juicy, tender, sweet-fleshed crustaceans with incomparable flavor.

Coated in a mixture of rich olive oil, some dried red chilli flakes and a little salt, char-grilled on very high heat for just a few minutes and then dressed with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and fresh flat-leaf parsley, they are as simple as it can get, and you know what? They don’t need anything else.

So, when you want to enjoy this type of beautiful shellfish in all their freshness, without any heavy ingredients masking their delicate flesh and flavor, then this is the way to go. Pry them out of their shell, not forgetting the meat inside the heads and those little claws of theirs, take some crusty bread, dunk it in the juices, drink a good glass of chilled white wine and enjoy.

Grilled langoustines with olive oil, lemon and chilli

Ideally, you should use lobster picks and crackers, because it’s not just the tail meat of the langoustines that you should eat but also the meat from the head and claws. So don’t be afraid to dig in there and get all the meat out. And if you don’t have the equipment, use a nutcracker and the back end of a small teaspoon to get the meat out.

Don’t throw away the shells and heads once you’re done. Use them to give extra flavor to a fish soup or to make a sauce for seafood.

Pair the langoustines with these hand-cut Greek fried potatoes with dried oregano and feta, and a big leafy salad. Best pairing ever.

Yield: 2 servings

10 fresh langoustines (about 500 g in total)
300 ml extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of dried red chilli flakes (preferably Greek boukovo if you can find it)

for the dressing
A large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 large and juicy lemon
Salt, to taste

Special equipment: grill or griddle pan (I use this one)

Note: Langoustines look like small lobsters (even though they are not lobsters) so don’t confuse them with shrimps/prawns.

Rinse the langoustines under cold running water. Take each one, place them on a cutting board and using a thin, long and sharp knife, cut them in half lengthwise starting from the head and ending at the tail. Remove the vein that runs along the center of the tail (it will reveal itself when you cut the langoustine in half) and place each half of the langoustine in a large rimmed tray.
In that tray with the halved langoustines, add the 300 ml olive oil, the chilli flakes and sprinkle with some salt. Mix gently with your hands so they get coated well with the mixture.

Heat your grill over high heat and once extremely hot, brush with some olive oil (use a heat resistant brush for this) and add the langoustines on the grill, shell side down, in one layer. Don’t crowd the grill. If they don’t all fit, grill them in batches. Grill them shell side down for 4-5 minutes and then turn them over to the exposed meat side and grill them for 1-2 minutes. Their flesh should be creamy in color (not translucent) when they’re done and have some grill marks. Be careful not to overcook them or they will lose their flavor and juiciness, and they will be rubbery.

In the meantime, mix in a small bowl all the ingredients for the dressing.

Place the langoustines on a large platter and pour the dressing over them.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

P.S. Have you heard??? I’m nominated for three awards at the first ever Greek Food Blog Awards organized by Vima Gourmet magazine. You can vote for me here for Best Cooking Blog, here for Best Sweet Treats and here for Best Food Photography & Styling by clicking the “like” button below the Greek text and next to where it says “Like for Vote” in each category. Thank you very much for your support!!


  1. So simple and so exquisite. Less is more, for sure!

  2. Oh my the absolute goodness of this and the beauty. Thanks for sharing the recipe and fantastic photos.