The Cabot Trail in Fabulous Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia in the fall is one of the most beautiful and scenic places I’ve ever had the good fortune to visit! As we drove the Cabot Trail with breathtaking views of oceans and bays, mountains, forests and waterfalls, we sampled exquisite local seafood dishes at every opportunity!
Searching out the most rustic and unassuming restaurants, our contest to see which prepared the best seafood chowder resulted in finding a very charming eatery (unfortunately, I can’t remember the name and have lost my notes from that trip) housed in an old log cabin. They served large bowls of chowder MOUNDED with shrimp, scallops, fish and lobster! The mountain of seafood, surrounded by a tomato-garlic based sauce, towered at least 6 inches above the rim of the bowls! We couldn’t believe our eyes and it was, and still is, the best and freshest seafood chowder I have ever tasted anywhere!
Following is my recipe for bouillabaisse with flavors reminiscent of that restaurant in Nova Scotia, on the Cabot Trail. If you have never driven the Cabot Trail it is a treat not to miss!
I started making this in 1984 and have served it, with some tweaks along the way over the years, to my dearest friends and family with rave reviews!
This is somewhat time-consuming and requires constant attention but is well worth the effort, not to mention the expense!
Bouillabaisse for Eight
2 lbs. grouper filet, or other white fish, cut in small portions
Fresh mussels, at least 4 or 5 per person
40 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 lbs. cooked lobster meat, big chunks please!
4 slices lemon
4 slices orange
pinch of cinnamon
A healthy pinch of saffron or 1 tsp. turmeric
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Fresh garlic, to taste , chopped
Freshly ground black pepper. I use a lot!
Salt to taste; to me, the seafood and tomatoes have enough natural salt but you may want more.
Small sprinkle of cloves
2 large sweet onions, chunked up
2 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup tomato sauce or ketchup
Handful chopped parsley for garnish
In a large pot , saute onion in olive oil till transparent. Add the chopped pepper and garlic and cook for a few minutes, till you smell garlic strongly. be careful not to burn the garlic, it will be bitter if you do.
Add all other ingredients, except seafood and simmer on low until all flavors are nicely blended and you can smell the orange slices, maybe 10 to 15 minutes. *If at this point you feel you need more liquid, add more broth but remember this is not a soup and should have more seafood than sauce.
Add grouper and cook for 5 minutes
add shrimp and mussels and cook, covered, 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Be careful not to over cook! Nothing worse than overcooked seafood!
Add lobster meat and briefly heat through.
Remove orange and lemon slices and serve topped with some of the parsley along with some dense, crusty bread and the rest of that white wine.
As my aunt Mary would say,”It’s so good, it’ll make your tongue slap your back teeth out!”. Now that’s good!
I hope you will enjoy this taste of Nova Scotia and the Cabot Trail !