Crayfish, green rocklobster, local lobster, packhorse crayfish, Sydney crayfish.
Palinuridae (spiny lobsters).
Available wild-caught, these marine crustaceans are found from the NSW-Queensland border to Bass Strait and the north-eastern coast of Tasmania, from close inshore to depths of over 200m, mainly in areas of exposed reef. Their fishery is comparatively small, but valuable given their popularity in the Sydney market. They are caught in baited traps, mainly off NSW. They look similar to Southern Rocklobsters, but their shell is greeny-black before cooking, instead of orange-red, and the tail is smooth. They differ from Tropical and Western Rocklobsters in that their antennae and antennules (between the antennae) are short and the flagella on the antennules aren’t forked. Rocklobsters are mostly active after dark and are carnivorous scavengers, feeding on bottom-dwelling invertebrates.
Available year round.
Size and Weight:
They are the largest Rocklobsters in the world, recorded up to 8kg and over 40cm carapace length, commonly 400g-2.5kg and 10.5-17cm.
Southern Rocklobster, Tropical Rocklobster, Western Rocklobster, Champagne Lobster.
Sold whole and as tails. Look for brightly coloured, firm, intact, lustrous shells, without any discolouration, particularly at joints, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. If possible buy live, avoid green (raw, dead) Rocklobsters (except for frozen tails) as it’s hard to tell how long they’ve been dead.
Live crustaceans should be consumed as soon as possible after purchase. Place in a container, cover with damp paper or cloth and keep in the warmest part of the refrigerator, which is usually the crisper (optimum 5°C). Wrap dead Rocklobsters in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.
Average yield is 35% of total weight (almost entirely in the tail) and up to 45% in small specimens. Has a sweet rich flavour, low oiliness and moist, medium-firm flesh, which is translucent when raw and white with orange tinges when cooked. Leg meat is often a little sweeter than tail meat. Shells turn red when cooked. The most humane, and easiest, method of killing any crustacean is to chill it in the freezer for about 45 minutes until it becomes insensible (but not long enough to freeze it). Once chilled, it should be killed promptly by splitting in half or dropping into rapidly boiling water. See www.rspca.org.au for more details.
Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, grill, barbecue, raw (sashimi). Rocklobsters from cooler waters (such as Eastern) are preferred for cooking. The firm flesh holds together well during most cooking methods. Undercook, rather than overcook, them, as they will continue cooking in the residual heat; overcooked Rocklobster will become tough and leathery. The carapace can be used to flavour stocks, soups and sauces.
Goes well with:
Butter, cayenne, coconut, cream, dill, French tarragon, garlic, lemon, lime, mustard, Pernod, white wine.
Crabs, Bugs, Prawns, other Rocklobsters.
Tropical Rocklobsters, tails and whole, cooked (chilled and frozen), are imported from Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Papua New Guinea and India. Southern Rocklobsters are imported from New Zealand.
Barbecued Lemongrass Rocklobster with Cucumber & Carrot Salad >
Rocklobster Salad with Radish, Orange & Mint >
Pan-fried Rocklobster with Verjuice >
Rocklobster Thermidor >
Rocklobster & Herb Salad with Asian Dressing >
Post credit | Sydney Fish Market
Stopped by the Fishermen’s Co-op just before the lunchtime crowd and the snapper was excellent. The crumbing was light and the oil fresh. In fact all the fish there looked great. The calamari was fresh and actually squid rings not mashed together to look like a ring. It got very busy quickly after I arrived and seating outside on the covered deck is limited so get in early or takeaway to the beach close by.
My wife and I ordered grilled swordfish. It took some time until it was done, but then we each got a nicely grilled piece about the size of a T Bone steak. Our daughter liked the salad. It might not be the place for a formal dinner but if you are hungry for fish at a reasonable price it’s certainly worth going there.
This was fish and chips done to perfection. Thick crunchy fish cocktails, calamari rings, prawn cutlets and chips were all fantastic.
Our family of 4 tucked into one of the better fish n chips we have had for a long time. Nice crisp batter (not soggy, oily, or smoothed). We had a selection trawler whiting, flake, calamari, sea scallops, potato scallops, and chips all beautifully cooked, and with great taste of the seafood