Archive for the ‘Shellfish’ Category

Scallops – Coquilles St. Jacques in French – are one of the family specials. In proper form, the ingredients are few: scallops, butter, cream, and parsley…

The night I arrived in my family’s village supper was from 8pm till 12:30am, and even so, we had to pry ourselves away before coffee was offered because I was so tired!

We began with soticot (tiny shrimp that were caught by one of my relatives), escargots, fresh crab… then a soup, a roast chicken, some cheese, dessert…  and so this recipe continues on the seafood theme that we live by here.

Ingredients – serves 4 as an appetizer

-16 – 20 scallops, sliced in half if they are large
-8 sprigs parsley, minced
-2 Tbsp butter
-1/2 cup crême fraiche


Wash and slice the scallops in half if they are large. Heat butter until it bubbles, over medium heat to sear each side for 3 minutes or so until they are golden-brown, and then simmer for a couple more minutes until they are gently cooked through. Add parsley, and cream. Melt cream over low heat over the scllops (avoid making it boil as it curdles). Serve with baguette crisps or other crisp bread, and a glass of dry white wine.

Bon appétit!


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Moving to the East Coast has absolutely spoiled me when it comes to seafood. Cheap and abundant fresh high-quality seafood is available from the back of a truck on the side of the road to the supermarket. One peculiarity of the Halifax Airport is a store where they sell fresh lobster (Clearwater). One can buy as many fresh lobsters as desired, and they will pack it away in cardboard box to transfer to your destination. It makes for a great gift and a fun supper!

When I visited my family in NYC, I decided the thing to bring was live lobster (my teenage twin cousins had never had the opportunity to savour this delicacy!). So as per Halifax Airport tradition, I carried six lobsters through customs to the USA (you know, airport security is a little bit odd – they will not let you through with a pair of sharp scissors but will wave you through jokingly with live crustaceans…)

We boiled up the lobster, put on the tacky lobster bibs, and dove right in to our delicious feast. The unanimous verdict was that the Nova Scotian lobsters were divine (although my Aunt suggested maybe next time I should introduce my cousins to a less expensive taste?)

Our beautifully set table!

Lobster Supper

1 live lobster per person
Large pots of heavily salted water
Lemon juice
Baguette and Salad

Bring the large pots of heavily salted water to a boil. Quickly emerge the live lobsters into the pots of water, and cook for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile melt the butter and mix with lemon juice.

Serve the lobster still warm with baguette and salad. Best eaten with lobster bibs and great company!

– Catherine


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My first abstract was accepted at an upcoming conference, so this weekend I flew to Halifax to finish my data analysis.  I spent the days working hard on my analysis, and caught up with good friends during the evening.  It’s lobster season on the East Coast, so when we headed out to a pub for supper, I gravitated towards the lobster roll.  It was what you might expect from a pub – decent, but not necessarily stellar (the fatal flaw being inadequate amounts of mayonnaise).  We were seated near the window, so we could see McDonalds advertising perhaps the only food that might tempt me to enter its franchise: the McLobster  (aka McDonald’s version of the classical maritime lobster roll).

The next day for lunch, we ventured to try the McLobster.  The McLobster was a step above the pub lobster roll, but any points it earned on the lobster salad (a touch of celery added a nice crunch), it lost on the bun (hotdog bun-like bread that is so chockerblock full of additives that it would take upwards of five weeks to mold).  My friend Alex and I decided that we would clearly have to try our own hand at making a lobster roll.

Friday night, four of us decided to have a seafood extravaganza. Clearly this was our moment.  We bought a live lobster at the grocery store, and after scoping the bread section, decided to go instead with Pillsbury croissants.  For the lobster salad, we used a mayonnaise spiked with lemon juice and seasoned with dill, salt, and pepper.  Inspired by the McLobster, we added a little celery for crunch.

Deep-fried calimari sizzling away

Our seafood extravaganza began with some deep-fried calamari that beautifully crispy and chewy cooked by our friend Matt.  We then savoured a bowl of seafood bisque with the lobster rolls and garlic bread.  After we recovered from over indulgence in seafood, we finished our evening with a slice of scrumptious hazelnut pie. The consensus was that these lobster rolls were delicious – and definitely something I’ll be making again and again when I’m on the coast during lobster season!

The creamy lobster rolls ready to be eaten!

Lobster Rolls

(8 mini-croissant lobster rolls)


8 mini-croissant (we baked up a package of Pillsbury Croissant Dough)

1 medium-sized live lobster

1 rib of celery, diced

Handful of dill

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt and Pepper

Mayonnaise to taste (we used about 3-4 tablespoons)


Boil the lobster in a large pot of salted water for 10-12 minutes.  Remove the lobster from the pot and flush with cold water to cool quickly.  Remove the lobster meat from the shell using whatever means possible (if you are a poor student devoid of lobster crackers, sharp scissors and a hammer work miracles).  Coarsely chop the lobster meat and transfer to a bowl.

Add to the lobster the mayo, celery, dill, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Adjust the creaminess and seasoning to your liking.

Cut the croissants in half lengthwise, and fill each with a few tablespoons of lobster salad.  Delicious with a glass of chilled white wine!

– Catherine

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Shrimp Wrap

It always surprises me how frequently I go to post an item, and Sitelle is already a step ahead of me.  Despite living 4,000 km apart, we somehow still manage to cook many of the same meals!  The day Sitelle made buttery  garlic shrimp, I had the exact same idea – although I ate the shrimp in a cold wrap.

Shrimp continue to be one of the richest sources of protein and they are loaded with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (not to mention absolutely they are absolutely tasty!)  For the wrap, I threw together my favourite sandwich ingredients with some tzaziki and lemon juice.  Just the refreshing pick-me-up one often needs at lunch!

Shrimp Wrap

1 wrap


buttery shrimp with garlic and parsley 

1 tortilla wrap

Tzaziki sauce

Cucumber, chopped

Tomato, chopped


Red Onion, chopped

Avocado, chopped

Lemon slice


To assemble wrap, spread tortilla with tzaziki.  Sprinkle veggies and shrimp on top.  Squeeze lemon slice over contents.  Roll up the wrap and bon appetit!

– Catherine

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I’m often asked “what is your favourite food, your favourite dish?”

That’s such a hard question! And my answer always begins by mentioning that it depends on the time of day, the season, and what else I’ve eaten recently. This is likely not very satisfying as an answer.

That said, this is one of my top 10 “simple dishes”. There are only 5 ingredients. And it can be an appetizer or a main course. And best of all, it reminds me of my grandparents in France.

Ever since I was little, I can remember carrying those funny-shaped shrimp fishing nets down to the beach with my water shoes in. I would wade slowly around the rocks, looking for the strange movement of the nearly transparent organisms through the water. I love it!

Over time, the shrimp accumulate in my fishing basket, perhaps accompanied by a few other sea-finds like escargots. I look forward to frying them up in butter, garlic, and parsley with my grandmother when I return. It is such a treat.


-1 lb shrimp (I prefer the ones with shells still on as this really boosts the flavour but some may find this messy)
-2 good-sized cloves garlic, germ removed, very finely minced
-leaves from 5 sprigs parsley, washed and finely chopped
-1 Tbsp butter
-pinch salt to taste


Wash the shrimp in cold water. Mince the garlic and parsley. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-low, and when butter begins to bubble, add the garlic for 30 minutes. Then add the shrimp, stirring occasionally, until both it is nearly cooked through. Add the parsley 2-3 minutes before turning the heat off, and sprinkle with salt to taste.


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