moreton bay bugs

Last week the very lovely people at Kirribilli Seafoods gave me two Moreton Bay Bugs caught that morning off Queensland’s coast. They were huge and freckled from the harsh Northern sun. The meat is found only in the tail. The succulent meat is sweet but bold and best cooked in the shell, where a lot of its flavour is held. I asked for the bugs to be halved lengthways as the shell is very rough and difficult to do at home.


//A recipe for morton bay bugs

Because of its naturally bold flavours, I’ve decided to keep the marinade simple but smokey. I’ll be serving them hot with pasta and asparagus, but you could serve them with anything else – potato and string bean salad, layered summer salad, or the filei calabresi agilo e olio I served with tiger prawns. (Seafood and pasta are the best of buddies.)

2 Moreton Bay bugs, split in half lengthways
a good pinch of sea salt flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbs finely chopped flatleaf parsley
optional: 1 bunch asparagus, 200g linguini with good quality pasta sauce

Combine the salt, paprika, chilli and parsley in a mortar and grind together to form a paste. Add the oil and combine with the pestle. Brush the marinade over the bugs and leave to marinate for 5 minutes.

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Heat a griddle pan on medium-high heat and place the bugs shell side-down for 5 minutes. The tail will curl as the meat cooks so it’ll be easiest to cook on the top-side of the bug.

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Turn and cook the bugs flesh side-down for 1 minute until lightly charred. The meat will simply fall away from the shell when it’s perfectly cooked. All it needs is a squeeze of lemon.

The bugs are ready to be served with some pasta and veggies – whatever tickles your fancy.

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I got these incredible prawns from our local fishmonger Kirribilli Seafoods. You can follow them on instagram to keep up to date on their delicious offering. Keep it local, guys. 


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