The French name “cigale de mer” means “sea cicada,” a reference to the noise the slipper lobster makes by clacking its claws, which sounds like the chirring of the cicada, an insect well-known in southern regions.
From the same family as the Dublin Bay prawn (langoustine) and the Northern or American lobster, the slipper or flat lobster has a colour that varies with its background, from dark brown to reddish brown to dark green, almost black. It is easily differentiated from the lobster since its claws are short. Its back is covered with small protuberances, a chitinous shell impregnated with calcium that makes it invisible among the rocks from which it emerges only at night.
The size of the slipper lobster is about 15 cm (6”) but the larger, less well-known variety, Scyllarus arctus, can attain a length of 45 cm (18”) and weigh 2 kg (4 lb.) In Marseille, it is called “chambris” and is sometimes included as an ingredient in bouillabaisse.
In cooking, the slipper lobster is used mostly in fish soups. Large slipper lobsters can be prepared in the same way as langoustine or lobster, and have the same delicacy, but unfortunately they are quite rare.
Our thanks to Pacific Promotion for the photo
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