worldly wednesdays: spiny lobster spring rolls a visit to anguilla
Being the first in the chain of the Leeward Islands, located in the Eastern Caribbean, Anguilla sits east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Today Anguilla is an internally self-governing British overseas territory whose Head of State is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor. However, the Amerindians that originally inhabited Anguilla were the Arawak and Carib peoples. And, according to Anguilla Guide, recent archaeological research tells us that “Anguilla was first occupied by indigenous peoples as early as 1500 B.C…were attracted to the area by the prime fishing provided by the extensive reefs nearby.”
Prior to Christopher Columbus’ “discovery” of the new world the Caribs, a fierce war-like and cannibalistic people eradicated the island of Anguilla of the peaceful Arawaks. When Columbus sighted the island in 1493 he called it Anguilla for its eel-like shape. Anguilla is the Spanish word for eel. It is likely that the presence of the Caribs initially prevented colonization. Interestingly, the Caribs called the island “Malliouhana” which is the Carib word for eel.
It wasn’t until 1650 that English settlers arrived from St. Kitts and shortly thereafter, in 1688 the Irish who were seeking asylum from religious persecution. The settlement where the Irish lived is known as Island Harbour. In 1745 and 1796 the French attempted to take control of Anguilla, however they failed.
According to Anguilla Guide, “the plantation system failed to take hold in Anguilla and many slaves were allowed to leave the plantations, finding work in places such as Antigua, British Virgin Islands and Trinidad. They were able to work, buying their freedom. When free they settled on the failed plantation that was deserted by the owners. Today the island is inhabited by peoples mainly of African descent.
As with many islands Anguilla’s food is incredibly varied due to the tourist industry and the availability of fresh produce and seafood. It was hard to pick a truly Anguillan food. There were such items as Johnny cakes and rice with peas that did stand out, however after the cabbage/potato pancakes (trinxat) from Angola and the probable use of many rice dishes for upcoming countries, we chose a spiny lobster spring roll as our Anguillan recipe in order to illustrate the wonderful fresh ingredients served at the many fine restaurants found on the island.
Spiny lobster is readily available to Anguillans. However, it isn’t readily available to us. We took a few liberties with the recipe that comes from Caribbean Choice and we will note the differences in red print. One of the ingredients made us curious and that was the lobster oil. This was something new to us and decided it might be of interest to many. You will find a recipe for lobster oil as well and it was found at The Worldwide Gourmet. This is an uncommon oil and as the holidays approach it is a wonderful gift idea for it is easy to make and sounds luxurious.
Spiny Lobster Spring Rolls
5 oz. Snow peas
6 Sheet filo dough (egg roll wrappers)
Mixed green salad (cabbage)
2 Lobster tail 5 oz.
Black ground pepper (omitted)
Oil for frying
1. Clean and make a julienne with the vegetables, sautée them with some lobster oil, chopped chives, roasted sesame seed and ground black pepper.
2. Boil the lobster tails (with the shell) for 8 minutes
3. Rough dice the cooked lobster then add them to the sautéed vegetables. Mix well.
4. Lay down 1 sheet of filo dough brush some lobster oil on it and add the other one on top, install the mixture above from right to left and rolled down to the bottom.
5. Cut in half, half again to have 8 pieces. Brush the top with some lobster oil. Sprinkle top sesame seeds, place on lined cookie sheet and cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees
6. If deep frying using the egg roll wrappers, roll about 3-4 tablespoons of mixture in the wrapper, fold and then place in hot oil and fry until golden.
Note: Most won ton wrapper packages have directions on how to fold. If you want them to be smaller simply trim the egg roll wrapper into a smaller square.
Soya Lobster Dressing:
Mix some mustard with red vinegar, soy sauce 5 drops or more of Tabasco and whip with the lobster oil to make this dressing.
Note: The soya lobster dressing did not include exact measurements. We used 1 part mustard to 1 part vinegar and 1 part lobster oil to ½ parts soy. We added a dash of Tabasco. (For instance use 1 tbs mustard, 1 tbs vinegar and 1 tbs lobster oil. Then use ½ tbs soy.)
Lobster oil can be stored refrigerated for 2 weeks and can be used in dressings, mayonnaise and as a garnishing oil.
½ cup vegetable oil
1 lb lobster shells (body and claws, but not the head)
1. Crush up the shells to approximately 1 inch pieces.
2. Dry the crushed shells in a 300°F oven for 10 minutes.
3. Place the dried shells in a pot and cover with the oil.
4. Gently heat the oil to 150-180°F and keep at this temperature for 2-3 hours for the oil to infuse.
5. Strain the oil.