Arragosta alla Catalana (rock lobster Catalan style) Recipe


This dish is from the city of  Alghero on Sardinia’s North Western coast, where the best rock lobsters (also called ‘spiny lobsters’) are found.

Arragosta alla Catalana (rock lobster Catalan style) Recipe
Arragosta alla Catalana (rock lobster Catalan style) Recipe

Due to the island’s strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean, Sardinia has a long history of being occupied by various groups. The Catalan invaders who ruled over Alghero in the 14th century left their influence on the city’s architecture, food, and even the dialect spoken there.


  • 2live rock lobsters, about 600-800 g (see Note)
  • 1small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 150 mlred wine vinegar
  • 100 mlextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1lemon, juiced, strained
  • salt flakes, to taste
  • 10truss cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsptorn flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • crackers, to serve


Time to freeze: 1 hour

45 minutes of downtime

  • Put the rock lobsters in a plastic bag with some holes cut in the bottom and freeze them for an hour (see Note).
  • In the meantime, fill the largest available pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Take 1 rock lobster out of its plastic bag, drop it into the boiling water, and cover the pot as soon as possible so the water may return to a boil. Depending on their size, they should be cooked for between 7 and 8 minutes.
  • Using a large slotted spoon, remove from the water and set aside to cool. Carry on the process with the remaining rock lobster.
  • You may do this by mixing the onion with the vinegar in a small bowl, letting it sit for 15 minutes, and then draining it well.
  • The lobsters should be placed on a cutting board with their tails out. Split the skull in half by inserting the tip of a large, hefty knife between the head and the tail. I recommend flipping the lobster over and slicing its tail in half. Rinse the top of the meat under running water, taking care not to soak the flesh. Make bite-sized pieces by deveining, removing the flesh from the shell, and cutting it into pieces no larger than 2 centimetres. To dry the shell, pat it.
  • To make a dressing, combine the oil, lemon juice, and a generous amount of salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • The rock lobster flesh, tomatoes, onion, parsley, and just enough dressing to coat should be mixed together right before serving. Serve the meat in the shells with crackers and lobster picks so guests may easily remove the succulent flesh from the crustaceans’ meaty legs.


Freezing crustaceans for approximately an hour, or until they become insensible, is the simplest and most gentle approach to kill them (but not long enough to freeze them). After being cooled, they must be killed as soon as possible by being cut in half or dropped into a large pot of quickly boiling water.

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