Welcome to The Bahamas!
I went for my first paddle boarding in Chub Cay in the Bahamas. Sato San had been trying to get me on the thing since the Erie Canal but it was always too cold. Call me a coward but I’m just not cut out for swimming in chilly waters. I always told him that I would paddleboard in the Bahamas. When we reached Bimini, our first stop in the Bahamas, I refused. The no swimming signs in the marina might not have been enough to dissuade me, but the enormous bull sharks that the marina fed certainly were. Shark attacks might be rare, but swimming where 10’ bull sharks were regularly fed? Not a chance was I getting anywhere near that water.
Our third day in the Bahamas, anchored in crystal waters I gave it a try. Surprisingly it’s a lot more stable than I had feared. I paddled a quick circle around Umineko, getting my paddle board legs. Gaining confidence I paddled out further. Some movement on one of the boats anchored nearby caught my eye. The run-down boat just gave off a fisherman vibe. I paddled a little closer and called out to see if they happened to have any lobsters. “We have lots!” one of them replied in a delighted voice. Chub Cay was pretty far from any of the standard tourist destinations. Having patrons paddle board up to the boat cut down on gas, time an energy for the fishermen.
“We’ll bring them by later. How much do you want to pay? $50?”
$50? I was shocked. One of my favorite dinners in New York had been going to Chinatown and buying 3 lobsters 3 for their $20 special. And that was New York City. $50 here seemed exorbitant. Rather than actually laughing in their face I put on my best pathetic face and told the man that we were poor and couldn’t pay much more than $10 or $15.
The fisherman told me that we could agree on a price later when they came by with the lobsters so I paddled back to Umineko. The sun was dipping towards the horizon and I wasn’t entirely sure they were going to come by with lobster for the stingy girl so Mori San and I dinghied over to the fisherman’s boat. To my delight they handed me an enormous ziplock bag stuffed to the point of bursting with lobster tails. I had expected 5 or 6 lobsters at the most. They tried for $50 again but I bargained them down to $20 and 4 beers.
Twenty one tails. Granted they weren’t the largest tails, but they weren’t tiny either. Just large enough to be legal and small enough to be tender and delicious. A wonderful welcome to the Bahamas.
We gorged ourselves on lobster that night, eating everything we could (and probably more than we should – neither Taira San nor I could finish ours), and froze the remaining tails. That night’s menu was steamed green beans with garlic butter sauce, lobster sashimi, Sato San’s favorite, and steamed lobster tails.
I had never even thought of lobster sashimi before but the sweet meat lends itself to being eaten raw.
You don’t have to, and actually shouldn’t, marinate it. Let the luscious flavor stand on its own. Devein the tail and cut it into small chunks. With a little soy sauce and wasabi it is divine.
2-4 lobster tails
Using heavy-duty scissors, cut the underside of the shell from base of the tail to its tip
Extract the meat
Devein the tail leaving only the beautiful white meat
Cut meat into small bite-sized chunks
Arrange on a platter
Serve with wasabi, soy, and pickled ginger