Lobster Season: The Race for Taste

By Wendy Bradley Reynolds   Trail Canada

The last Monday in November may be just the beginning of yet another work week to many, but in Nova Scotia it marks a special time with a less than spectacular name: Dumping Day. Do not let this inelegant handle fool you, however, for in this province people have been known to salivate at its very whisper. Yes, the hunt for the King of seafood is once again in full pitch, and while fishermen and women race for the best possible spots to place or “dump” their traps, we wait for that unmistakable taste of luxury that only lobster can provide.

Everyone has his or her favorite way of eating lobster, and there are many Nova Scotia recipes which are sure to please. The famous ‘down-east’ lobster roll is perhaps the easiest to prepare--many families prefer to toast the lobster salad filled rolls before eating them. There is also the County Clare delicacy of simple scrambled eggs and lobster, served on toast. Delicious! Whether it be lobster bisques, or the simple whole lobster, steamed, served with butter and preferred by the purist, this savory crustacean never fails to please.

Lobster has long been the Nova Scotia dish of choice for serving on Christmas eve, and both ‘tomalley’, (a lobster pate), and ‘roe’, (lobster eggs) are indulgences of unimaginable delight. Including both in your Christmas dips will add a touch of sumptuousness to the festive season. Lobster chowder, however, remains the undisputed champion of east coast Holiday culinary traditions. Each family closely guards their recipe, often passed down from mother to daughter, but I am happy to share one of the best I have tasted (recipe below).

While a person living in Canada’s east coast will often resist conversations about lobster for fear of becoming a clichéd, fish obsessed Maritimer, the truth is that this creature contributes more than just its deliciousness. Did you know that the military was inspired by the design of a lobster’s eyes to create such technologies as ‘night vision goggles’, and that a lobster’s sense of smell has inspired the design for a robot to sniff out underwater mines! Another interesting fact is that the record for the largest documented lobster goes to a lobster taken off Nova Scotia in 1977. It weighed 44 lbs., 6 oz. and was between three and four feet long. It may have been 100 years old.

So, while you may despair at Monday mornings, take a word of advice from an east coast resident. Great things do happen on Mondays, and next to the Holidays, Lobster season is truly the best time of the year!

Nova Scotia Lobster Chowder Recipe

serves 4-6

3 tablespoons of butter
½ cup of green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
¼ teaspoon of pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of water
3 cups of red-skinned potatoes, cubed
1 ½ cups of corn kernels
2 cooked lobsters (use meat) or 1 can
2 ½ cups of blend or whole milk
½ cup of cream
1 tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped

Directions:
In a large saucepan, melt better over medium heat; cook green onions, salt, thyme and pepper, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup of water.

Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender, but still firm. Add corn and lobster, and cook, covered for 5 minutes. Gradually stir in blend or milk, cream and dill and heat through.

Remember that the best chowders ‘rest’ for at least 5 hours, so be sure to make well in advance. Enjoy!

Nova Scotia

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