Tuesday, May 19, 2009

French word of the day: homard; lobster

Bonjour, Tout le Monde!

Another sign of spring: everywhere in Montreal restaurant windows these days, you see signs that say "Fête de Homard"-- Quebec's lobster season is upon us. Even before now, Milo was asking us for lobster. Who knows why or how he even knew of its existence, maybe his maritimer heritage was speaking to him. The restaurant lobster parties (if we are to translate the signs literally) are about $25 a plate, which seems too good to be true, with lobsters retailing at about $18 per for a small one. We figured we'd throw our own lobster party and have a good feed chez nous. And nosh we did.

We made a whole project out of it: first we made lobster bibs, everyone got one, we even made a tiny one for Iggy even though he's too little to try shellfish yet. Then we painted a lobster on Milo's face, as we paint something on Milo's face every freakin' day lately. Then Milo, Iggy and I trekked to La Mer, a huge fish market near the Village and a fair hike east from our house. Our two wriggling lobsters were put into a plastic bag and we transported them home underneath the stroller. We plopped them into a huge pot of boiling water for 3.5 minutes, then the shell-cracking began.

You have to love lobster (or any shellfish) enough to think the labour is worth it. It had been years since I'd wrasseled a big crustacean, and it takes some skill and elbow grease. Also some willingness to get hurt; I lacerated my thumb on the shell while prying the tail apart. After about 20 minutes of waiting for his first hunk of claw meat, Dave the Prairie Boy's face assumed a familiar expression, the one that says, "give me a good ribeye any day, it's cheaper and it doesn't bite back." Nonetheless we all enjoyed our feed and even had a little meat left over, so I boiled the shells with some veggies to make stock and made a tasty bisque for supper tonight. Lobsters do NOT scream in the pot; that's an urban myth. It's crabs that do that.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jennifer, it's Marie thru Jean's profile. I'm glad you discovered La Mer! The best place for fish and seafood in Montreal. Hope you found everything needed for your own Festival du homard. The lobster pot was quite obvious but for the other needed utensils... Lobster season coincides with asparagus season. If you like asparagus, you must go at Jean-Talon market and buy them fresh and cheap. Bon printemps a Montreal (lucky you!!!)!