We all know that Nova Scotia is known for hospitality, picturesque seaside villages, and of course, lobster.
Nothing is more iconic and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tourism ad that doesn’t manage to sneak a lobster in somewhere. A feed of lobster is a rite of passage for visitors, the crowning glory of many a Christmas and New Years’ celebration, and the centre of attention at backyard parties throughout the summer. As locals, we’re spoiled with easy, well-priced access to a food considered ultra-luxury and ultra-expensive in other parts of the world.
I took a drive out to Fisherman’s Cove in Eastern Passage and visited one of our local lobster pounds. Wayne’s World and its sister shop, Lobster World in Jeddore, are owned and operated by Brian Anthony, Wayne MacDonald and Rick Murphy.
Lobster World is actually on the way to my cottage on the Eastern Shore so I’ve been there a few times in the past. Last summer, I had a craving for lobster and planned to pick up a couple on my way out after work. By the time I pulled into the Lobster World parking lot in Jeddore, I was crushed to realize I had just missed their closing time. As I stood gazing longingly in to the tank inside, a man got out of his truck behind me and yelled over, “What are you looking for?”
“I was hoping to buy a couple of lobsters for dinner but I’m too late,” I explained, my disappointment too much to hide.
“Come on,” he said, coming around the truck to the front door, he unlocked it and let us in. I was so surprised I didn’t know what to say, but I still remember the kindness of the man who didn’t want me to go without on that sunny summer weekend. He even made sure to send me off with sea salt for my boiling water, even though he was probably anxious to get home and start the weekend himself. To that kind-hearted man from last summer, thank you!
Today on my visit to Fisherman’s Cove, we were greeted by Tania Power, a sales rep for Wayne’s World & Lobster World. She explained with pride that the majority of their lobsters are purchased from local fishermen in Eastern Passage.
Their tanks were full, separated into size categories and she chose a few to cook up for me. While I usually prefer to cook them myself, it was getting late on a Friday night and my stomach encouraged me to take advantage of this extra service. Tania also had some fresh mussels from Aqua Prime Mussel Ranch as well as Digby scallops, both of which came home with me for a seafood feast.
I decided to try something different with my lobster based on another craving I had been having all week. One of my co-workers had brought in homemade Mac & Cheese for lunch one day and it looked so good I asked for her recipe.
I did make a couple of changes, substituting her kid-friendly cheddar for a more pungent Gruyère and adding some dry mustard and nutmeg. Much to my surprise, her recipe called for the cheese sauce to be made in the microwave which sounded a lot easier than the usual stove top method with endless stirring. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but it would definitely be an easy way to make a favourite comfort food on any weekend night. Adding lobster could only change it from familiar to fantastic, couldn’t it?
While the mac & cheese was baking, we popped a bottle of Gaspereau Vineyards‘ Crescendo, a lovely sparkling blend of Muscat and Vidal while I made a curry cream sauce for my mussels as an appetizer. It was a simple sauce with sautéed onions, some curry powder, a splash of white wine and heavy cream sweetened with some Nova Scotian maple syrup from Acadian Maple.
Simple or not, the mussels hit the spot as we waited for the pasta to emerge from the oven. And when it emerged, it was divine. The sauce was thick and creamy, and the Gruyère was such a nice pairing with the rich lobster meat.
Here is the Lobster Mac & Cheese recipe – inspired by my friend Lauren McNutt’s Mac & Cheese with my lobster tweaks included.
We decided to keep the scallops for another night which gave me time to think about what to do with them. Personally I can think of no better way to savour a scallop than seared quickly in a hot pan, but as I strolled through the grocery store the next night, I walked by something that stopped me in my tracks: Acadian Maple Products Peppered Maple Sugar. How good would that be on my scallops, I thought to myself. Ooh, with a little maple cream sauce drizzled over, I added to myself. OH, and bacon!!! (Sadly, I actually had this whole conversation with myself, at the edge of the produce department of Sobey’s, but this is probably not a surprise for those that know me).