This has been adapted from Justin Timineri’s recipe calling for rock shrimp, which, as far as flavor profile, are a cross between spiny lobster and shrimp. In a similar vein to lobster mac’ and cheese, this cheese strada is a cheesy, gooey dose of comfort food that’s perfect after a long day snagging lobsters on a dive.
Spiny Lobster Cheese Strada
Yields 8 servings
- 1 pound spiny lobster, removed from shell and cut into 1 oz. bites*
- 6 slices whole-wheat white bread
- 3 tablespoons of butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Add lobster bites to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes; drain well, rinse in cool water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
- Spread butter on both sides of bread slices and then cut off the crusts. Place buttered bread in a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. On top of bread, layer in this order: lobster, cheese and tomatoes.
- Combine eggs, half-and-half and salt. Mix well and pour over tomatoes.
- Cover casserole and chill overnight.
- Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
* Removing raw lobster can be a pretty tricky task – the meat tends to stick to the shell. So, to cook the lobster without going mad in the kitchen, try this simple yet effective steaming method:
- Insert kitchen shears between shell and meat.
- Cut down center of shell leaving fantail attached.
- Gently pry shell away from the meat, leaving it connected in the back.
- Rinse the lobster tail under cool water and pat dry with paper towel.
- To prevent the tail from curling, insert a bamboo skewer through the meat.
- Bring one quart of water to a boil.
- Place tails in top steam colander and cover pot.
- Allow to steam for about 1 minute per ounce – the goal is to cook the meat until it has turned white and firm to the touch (but not too firm, then it just becomes chewy).
- Once cooked, run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
For more Florida spiny lobster recipes, click here.
The official Chef of Florida, Justin Timineri, shares some of his recipes with us. A proponent of eating healthy, locally-grown and harvested produce and seafood, Timineri’s recipes imbue that Fresh From Florida flavor. For more on chef Justin, click here.
Recipes and images courtesy of Chef Justin Timineri and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For more recipes coming from Timineri’s kitchen, click here.