Langoustines are also known as Norway lobster, Dublin Bay Prawns, Nephrops Norvegicus or whole raw scampi. A type of crustacean found in the Atlantic Ocean.
The tail meat has a sweet and delicate flavour. It is perfectly cooked in boiling water and served hot with butter and lemon. Or serve cold with dipping sauces.
Norway lobster can be expensive. So we will give you tips on how to prepare langoustines, defrost them, cook them and peel them without damaging them.
Here is a quick video showing you how to cook langoustines.
Read more or jump straight to what you need to know.
What are Langoustines?
Langoustines are a type of crustacean that lives in the Atlantic Ocean. Also known as Norway lobster, Dublin Bay Prawns, whole raw scampi or Nephrops norvegicus.
From the same family as shrimp, prawns and lobsters, these little creatures are a favourite amongst seafood lovers.
Easy to identify; look for a long tail with a pale, naturally pinky orange shell. Eight legs, two large long claws and shiny jet black eyes.
With a slight smell of the ocean with a hint of sweetness. They should not smell overly fishy.
Bigger than a large prawn but smaller, slimmer and paler pink than a lobster. They grow up to 25 cm in length, including the claws.
Langoustine meat is sweet and delicate, often used in fine dining dishes.
You can buy langoustines from most fishmongers and some supermarkets.
They may be packaged as Norway Lobster, Nephrops Norvegicus, or Whole Raw Scampi in the UK.
They are usually sold frozen and raw.
How to Defrost?
You will need to defrost your raw frozen langoustines before cooking. The best way to do this is to place them in a colander or strainer and run cold water over them.
Once completely thawed, they should be cooked straight away or kept covered in the fridge but cooked the same day.
Alternatively, you can remove them from the packaging, and separate them under cold water. Then cover and finish defrosting them in the fridge overnight.
Once defrosted, whole raw scampi must not be refrozen.
How to Cook Langoustines?
If you have never cooked Dublin Bay Prawns before. We recommend starting with this boil method as it is the simplest and most foolproof way.
First bring a large pan of salt water to a boil.
Once at a rolling boil, place the whole langoustines straight into the salted water. Cook for approximately three minutes. Larger Norway lobster may take longer.
Boil in a single layer at a time, over several batches if needed.
Turn upside down and stretch the tail straight to check the whole scampi are cooked. The meat should be white and not translucent.
We plan to post more soon with more cooking advice. In a large frying pan or cooking on the grill / BBQ for example.
Whole-cooked scampi is an excellent addition to our fantastic seafood platter; instructions are coming to the blog soon.
Here are a few sides you could add the langoustines with.
Once cooked, drain away the cooking water and fill the pot with iced water to cool them down quickly.
Don't leave them to soak in the cold water just cool them down.
Serve them cold with a bowl of dipping sauce. Garlic mayonnaise, tartare sauce or Marie Rose sauce are all great options.
Drain away the boiling water and serve immediately whilst still hot with just a squeeze of lemon, butter salt and pepper and flat leaf parsley.
Serve them hot as a starter dish with a drizzle of seafood boil sauce made with garlic, butter, onion and seasoning. Recipe coming soon!
How to Peel?
Langoustines shells are easy to peel by hand or cut in half and pick the meat out. We show you below how to peel by hand.
But you can serve them unpeeled and show others how to do it for themselves.
To peel by hand, simply twist the tail from one side to the other. The head will break away easily from the body.
Use your thumbs to pinch each section of the shell along the tail to crack it in half.
Then simply peel each section away, starting at the head end and working your way down towards the tail.
You could use scissors to cut the shell if preferred.
If you think your guest would prefer not to get their fingers messy?
You can cut the dublin bay prawns in half lengthways using a sharp knife.
Place the knife's point in the centre at the top of the tail/bottom of the head, and push it through to the chopping board.
Then slice it down the centre of the tail straight through the hard shell. Repeat in opposite direction, cutting through the head.
Remove the gut sack from the head sections and remove vein.
Find the black vein and use a fork, to extract it. This black vein is the digestive tract. All the bacteria are killed during boiling, and it is safe to eat.
However, people are grossed out by eating it, and its not hard to remove so we normally do.
Head & Claws
Don't waste the head and claws of the Langoustines. Remove the sandbag (gut sack) from the head and crush the claws with a rolling pin or nutcracker.
These can now be used to create a seafood stock, soup, bisque or butter.
If the claws are large, you may even be able to crack them and get some meat out of them.
📖 Step by Step Recipe
How to Cook Langoustines
- 8 Langoustines
Optional - to serve with
- Dipping Sauce
- First, defrost the langoustines. This can be done overnight in the fridge.Or straight from the freezer by running them under cold water in a strainer until they have thawed out.
- Bring a large pan of well salted water to a boil.Salt
- Once at a rolling boil, place the langoustines in a single layer into the water. Cook for approximately 3 -5 minutes.Cook in batches if you have a small pan or more to cook.8 Langoustines
- Remove one of the largest with a slotted spoon, and check if cooked by looking under the tail the langoustine meat should have turned white.Once cooked, drain away the cooking water.
- Serve hot with garlic butter, lemon and seasoning.Lemon, Butter
- Pour ice cold water over the langoustines to cool them instantly
- Serve cold with dipping sauces like our Marie Rose SauceDipping Sauce
If you have leftover cooked langoustines that you would like to save for later, there are a few storage tips to keep in mind.
First, allow them to cool, then immediately store them in an air-tight container in the fridge. It is recommended to eat them within 2 days of cooking.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post on How to Cook Langoustines. Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or tips.
More Seafood Recipes
If you're looking for seafood recipe ideas, you've come to the right place.
Seafood is a healthy and delicious option for any meal, and there are many different ways to prepare it. We've got you covered whether you're in the mood for prawn pasta or seafood risotto.
Stay tuned for our next post, where we will show you more items suitable for a seafood platter including our Marie Rose Sauce.