Filed under: beach, featuredarticle, food, island, restaurant
You can’t always get what you want, even in paradise. There I was, lounging on a beach chair in the warm Caribbean sun at Scilly Cay, on the island of Anguilla (map), anticipating my barbecue-grilled lobster, when the bad news arrived.
Four restaurant patrons, including me, had ordered Caribbean Spiny Lobster for lunch. Four critters had, indeed, been captured just that morning – but two had to be released because they were loaded with eggs. (On this Caribbean island, crustaceans with child are spared.)
The solution? Each of us would get just ½ of a lobster, plus a grilled crayfish.
Of course, I was thinking I’d end up with something like a mini Missouri crawdad or a slightly heftier Louisiana crawfish, but those are the wimpy freshwater cousins of lobsters. Caribbean crayfish are as large as — as lobsters.
Seems there are more than 500 species of crayfish found worldwide. The ones I know best, the American dwarf crayfish, are only about 1-1/3 inches long. The largest, the Tasmanian, can be eight pounds. On Anguilla, the crayfish are somewhere in between.
Eudoxie Wallace, Scilly Cay’s owner (who’s better known simply as “Gorgeous”), confided that the secret to the shellfish preparation was his proprietary barbecue sauce, of course, plus the charcoal — locally-made from sea grape, cedar, tamarind and wild mango (all indigenous hardwoods).
When my plate arrived with crustaceans hot from the oil-drum grill on the beach, I knew I had a feast at hand. Plunging in, I managed to demolish everything (including the pasta salad, fresh fruit and grilled bread) washing it all down with a rum punch that deserves its name and an ice water chaser. (I’d been warned about the potency of the punch, especially on a hot summer’s afternoon, so I stuck to one serving.)
As I ate, I tried to puzzle out the barbecue sauce – I think I detected hot peppers, a trace of mustard, some peanuts perhaps and a touch of sweetness from orange marmalade.
Gorgeous wasn’t talking.
(Photos by Susan McKee)
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