Growing up in San Diego really fed my love for Baja Mexican food. In addition to the extraordinary taco shops up and down Highway 1 –- Juanitas, Robertos, Albertos –- Mexican food was an integral part of daily life in the area. Many people had mothers and grandmothers who made superb homemade tamales (especially at Christmas), others had fathers or brothers who would fish (yes, they were pretty much always the men in the family) and then bring home their catch for homemade fish tacos. In my family, the fish was caught by my brother-in-law Joe. I always loved when he would come home and toss the freshly caught rock cod or halibut on the grill while we all rounded up some tortillas and salsa.
Even better than the fish catch, however, was the lobster he would bring home from his diving stints during the short lobster season. Sitting out on the back patio with a plateful of just-caught and grilled to perfection lobster, drinking a cold cerveza and hanging out with my family is my idea of heaven. So last week, once the sun had broken through the June gloom, school was out, and summer was all around us, I just couldn't pass up the lobster tails I saw on sale for $7.99 each. Sure, they weren't caught that morning by Joe, but I figured they would make great tacos nonetheless. Plus west coast lobster is considered a "best choice" on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list, so I knew we could eat it guilt free.
As I had three ripe mangos sitting on my counter with three ripe avocados by their sides, I decided to veer from the normal salsa fresca we usually serve with our tacos. The mango and avocado salsa I whipped up went nicely with the lobster. Tossed with lime juice and diced jalapeno peppers, the salsa was sweet and slightly tangy with the perfect amount of heat. I decided to then top everything off with a blended sauce made from sour cream and avocado, which melded all the flavors together perfectly.
Sitting on our back patio, I knew summer had really arrived. The only thing missing was my family in San Diego. Guess I'll have to make this again when we visit them in August.
Note: This dish could easily be made with shrimp. And, of course, grilled fish is not only an acceptable alternative, but a fantastic one.
Grilled Lobster Tacos
Makes: 6 – 8 tacos
2 medium-sized lobster tails
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 – 8 corn tortillas
1. Drizzle juice from two limes plus the olive oil over lobster tails, coating them evenly. Let marinate for 15-20 minutes.
2. Heat grill.
3. On maximum heat, lay lobsters with the heavier part of the shell on the bottom and grill for 5-7 minutes or until the meat becomes pinkish and opaque.
4. Remove lobsters from the grill and set on a plate to cook for a couple of minutes.
5. Cut through a line down the thinner side of the shell and gently pull the meat from the shell. Set meat on a separate plate. Do the same for the other lobster.
6. Cut meat into ½-inch chunks and squeeze the last lime the lobster chunks. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Heat corn tortillas on the grill (about 30 seconds on each side).
8. Lay about ¼-cup lobster meat on each tortilla. Top with Mango Avocado Salsa and Avocado Crema. Serve.
Mango Avocado Salsa
Makes: 3 cups salsa
3 small or 2 medium mangos
2 medium or 3 small avocados
½ to 1 whole jalapeno (depending on how hot you'd like the salsa). Remove stems, membranes and seeds.
Salt to taste
1. Remove meat from mangos and avocados and cut into ¼-inch chunks. Place in a bowl.
2. Dice jalapenos into small pieces and add to the fruit.
3. Squeeze lime juice on top.
4. Add salt to taste.
5. Serve on top of tacos or with corn chips.
Makes: 1 cup
1/2 an avocado
1/2 cup sour cream
salt to taste
1. Place avocado and sour cream in a small chopper or blender and mix until thoroughly combined and smooth.
2. Add salt to taste
3. Add as a topping to lobster or fish tacos.