Lobster tacos might sound extravagant, but they are a thing on both the Pacific Coast of Mexico, as well as the Yucatan Peninsula.
I’ve seen them fried and grilled, and that’s nice, but I still prefer my lobster steamed and then bathed in butter, or straight up butter-poached, for that matter. These are spiny lobster tails from Florida I brought back from a trip to the Keys; any lobster will do.
I simply put a few tails on a steamer tray in a pot with a little water in it, steamed the lobster tails for about 10 minutes, removed them from their shells and dunked them in melted butter. After I ate a piece — ’cause you have to, you know? — I cut them into bite-sized pieces and tossed them with a variant on the standard pico de gallo we all know and love.
That variant is called salpicon, which at its core is a pico de gallo with shredded cabbage and often chopped radishes added to it. You see seafood mixed with this a lot all over Mexico, sometimes stuffed into a roasted poblano — kinda awesome.
That’s really all these lobster tacos are. Simple, buttery lobster tossed with good things that add crunch, spice, tartness, a little sweetness, and that herbal touch you get from cilantro.
If you wanted to add to this, a good option would be to whip together Mexican crema with your favorite Mexican hot sauce — Huichol, Culichi or Cholula would be my recommendations — and drizzle that on top. If you can’t find Mexican crema, which is thinner than American sour cream, thin sour cream with a touch of regular cream.
Want a bit more heft? Smear some refried beans on the tortilla before you top with the lobster and salpicon. Could you add cheese? I suppose, but I wouldn’t. Not here.
No lobster handy? Peeled shrimp would be an almost perfect substitute, and squid or octopus would really shine here, too. Little steamed clams would be nice, and sure, you can use chunks of fish. If you go the fish route, you want dense, meaty fish like tautog, shark, swordfish, sturgeon, cobia, grouper, amberjack or yellowtail, pike or flathead catfish.
Corn tortillas are what you want here. I make my own, and if you want to learn how, here is my tutorial on how to make corn tortillas.
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (optional)
- 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
- 6 small radishes, chopped
- 1 to 3 habaneros, minced (See below)
- 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 1/2 pounds lobster tails
- 12 Corn tortillas
- Start by soaking the minced onion in the lime juice. Sprinkle salt over it and mix well. Now cut all your other vegetables. Doing it this way will take the sting out of the onions.
- Chop all your other vegetables and add them to the bowl with the lime juice and onions. Mix well and add salt to taste. Have this ready for the lobster.
- Heat your tortillas now. If you are making your own, make them after the salpicon but before you steam the lobster.
- Set a steamer tray in a pot and pour enough water to come up to just below the level of the tray. Cover the pot and bring this to a boil. Lift the lid, set the lobster tails on the tray, cover the pot and steam for about 10 to 15 minutes. Big Maine lobster tails can take 15 minutes, but little Caribbean or Pacific lobster tails will only take about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a little pot. When the lobster is ready, remove it from the shells and cut into bite-sized pieces. Put the lobster in a bowl and toss with the melted butter.
- Mix the lobster with the salpicon, add it to tortillas and have at it!