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Covehead Harbour and a new lobster season

May 4, 2014

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The spring lobster season began on PEI this past week. A number of fishermen have peddler’s licenses now. After a long morning hauling traps out on the water, they load some giant tubs full of lobster on the back of a pickup truck and head into town, park in some conspicuous location, and sell the fish in plastic bags to any and all comers. It’s a good deal, much cheaper than the grocery store (I think they usually charge around $4 for a canner).

IMG_0477But a better way to get your lobster is to head to the wharf on a Saturday sometime just before noon as the boats are coming in. Here they’ll put your lobsters on the scale, you pay per pound at a rate that’s probably more than the fishermen will get from one of the actual buyers, but again a lot less than you’ll pay anywhere else. It’s a real win-win.

We went to Covehead Harbour this weekend, a picturesque little spot in PEI National Park (we did our wedding pictures there). Being the first Saturday of the season, there were lots of people filling up coolers and bags of the season’s first lobster. I find lobster always tastes best at this time of year, when the water is cold and the shells are full of plump, sweet meat.

IMG_0486Speaking of our wedding, I brought my father to this harbour the day before our wedding to buy lobsters to feed everyone at our rehearsal dinner. I had a number in mind for how many lobsters we would need. Of course, my dad had to increase that. We ended up with 130 canners to feed about 40 people. It was four times as many as we needed. Plus I made maybe 20 lbs of mussels. At the end of the night we created an assembly line, with nannas, aunts and whatever family members were handy removing claws and tails, filling ziploc backs and stuffing them into the freezers of their rented cottages. That lobster lasted us all summer and into the fall.

IMG_0490I’ve developed a hybrid method for cooking lobster, which I’m happy with. I get a full pot of salted water to a boil (seawater is the best if you’re near the ocean). I’ll boil the lobsters for the first few minutes, then pull them out, dump all but about two inches of the water, put in a rack, replace the lobsters and steam them the rest of the way. Steaming is a nicer way to cook lobster, but plunging a lobster head-first into boiling water is a more humane way to make sure a lobster’s end comes quickly. If Teresa has started to develop some feelings for the crustaceans (as was the case last night, because we had some really feisty ones), I’ll invite her to leave the kitchen as I do this.

We’ve got three cooked canners left in the fridge. I have some ideas for recipes, which I’ll be happy to share.

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From → Food, Ingredients

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