We had a big lobster dinner last Saturday. Nine fat ones were steamed for family and friends and served up with drawn butter, crusty bread, a big salad and some Moet Brut Champagne.
We ate at a table in the backyard decorated with linens and flowers. Ramekins of melted butter were kept warm on candle-heated metal stands.
Our lobsters were caught by Gerry Sweeney, a lifelong lobsterman who docks his boat in New Quay. (Not to be confused with Gerry the oysterman who operates Flaggy Shore Oysters on the same dock,) Gerry Sweeney’s wife Martina opened the store called “Burren Seafood” around a dozen years ago.
In a seafood restaurant, a lobster dinner will set you back 50 euros or so. But they sell for 25-30 euros a kilo at the Sweeney’s seafood store (depending on the season).
That’s pretty close to the 12 dollars a pound you generally pay for live lobster at a seafood store in States. (I remember buying lobster for 4 dollars a pound one summer in New England, but that was a long time ago.) And they are pretty easy to cook at home (or in your Airbnb), provided you have a big pot.
European lobsters (homarus gammarus) are similar to American lobsters (homarus Americanus) in appearance after cooking, but the European variety have a bluish color before cooking. The flavor is pretty much identical in my experience.
Burren Seafood sells lobsters, brown crabs from Gerry’s lobster boat as wells as local oysters, clams, mussels and scallops. On Saturday mornings, there’s also an array of fresh fish from other local sources. I am particularly fond of the tuna, black sole and monkfish. There are also frozen squid, octopus and other selections.
The dock is a few kilometers from our house in New Quay,, a little fishing village on the Wild Atlantic Way (N67) between Kinvara and Ballyvaughan. Quay means pier. The town was originally called Burrin. When the large pier which is the center of town was built in 1837, people started calling the place New Quay. A pier built in 1837 isn’t all that new anymore, but habits die hard around here.