By Alain Bossé photography by Jackson Productions Inc
My mother-in-law grew up in Holland, and while there is no actual fact to back this up, I still strongly suspect that babies over there cut their teeth on pickled herring. I’m not sure any other nation enjoys herring as much as the Dutch do, so when my MIL says that the marinated herring from Comeau Seafoods, located in Saulnierville, NS is every bit as good as what she was used to eating back home, I feel confident in putting my trust in that product as well!
Comeau Seafoods was developed by Bernardin J. Comeau and his older brother Clarence in 1946. Bernardin was born into a family of 10 on the eastern tip of Saulnierville in the municipality of Clare, an area that is fiercely proud of and loyal to their Acadian heritage. Bernardin came from very humble beginnings; with 10 children in the family, money could be scarce and Bernardin decided to leave school at the age of 15 to help his dad support the family. Fortunately, he was a very good student and was already able to speak and write both French and English and was also gifted in mathematics, a skill that no doubt aided in his future success. In the summer Bernardin helped in the family’s general store but in the winter he fished lobster with his dad.
Bernardin started Comeau Seafoods with only one boat, which was used to catch lobsters; today Comeau Seafoods employs more than 400 people and is one of the largest employers on the South Shore. Bernardin was a true entrepreneur and made many decisions that were considered foolhardy by some, but turned out to be very wise decisions, such as investing in a sea-going vessel to take part in the scallop fishery. Between 1957 and 1997 Comeau Seafoods would acquire a total of 20 draggers.
When Bernardin first began fishing scallops, the only freezing facility in the region was located in Yarmouth and was a 50-kilometre trip by truck at a time when the highway had yet to be built. Bernardin opted to tackle this challenge head-on by building his own cold storage and ice-making plant in Saulnierville to safeguard the quality of his scallops and other seafoods.
As Comeau’s does not rely on others to supply them with product, they are able to control handling and quality from the moment the scallops comes from the water. Because the seafood that comes ashore is processed in the company’s own plants, which means that fish from Nova Scotian waters is processed in Nova Scotia BY Nova Scotians. That carries a lot of weight in my books.
Comeau’s has several products available instore for consumers to purchase. A favourite, as mentioned earlier, is their bottled marinated herring, it’s available in house blend and as herring in wine sauce, both of which are unbelievably good. They also offer breaded scallops and maple bourbon-wrapped scallops. If you’re looking for ready-made items, you should definitely give their fish cakes a try!
If anyone is familiar with the J. Willy Krauch line of smoked salmon, you will be relieved to know that Comeau’s has taken over production of those products and has stayed true to the recipes that Willy originally developed. Comeau’s offers the full line, including smoked mackerel, cold-smoked salmon, and the lemon pepper and maple pepper pieces, which are perfect for snacking or adding to summer salads.
Another product that I had seen on store shelves but hadn’t tried before is Comeau’s line of fresh seafood spreads. I had an opportunity to try them several months ago and can honestly say that there have been some in my fridge ever since. Available in shrimp, lobster and salmon, these 140-g packages are perfect for entertaining; but I have to admit that on more than one occasion, the spread along with some artisan crackers and a glass of wine has become a quick and light dinner at home!
We faithfully speak of and support the importance of keeping our consumer dollars at home in Atlantic Canada, and when you can do this, fully understanding that you are getting the absolute highest quality product for your dollar, it becomes a win-win for all. For me, Comeau Seafood ticks all those boxes.
Comeau Lobster and Smoked Mackerel Pizza
Created during the Saltscapes Expo and too good not to share!
1 12-inch naan bread
1 (140 g) tub Comeau lobster dip
2 fillets smoked mackerel, skinned, de-boned
and cut into pieces
½ cup (125 mL) Caramelized Molasses Onions
(recipe on opposite page)
5 oz (140 g) cheese curds
½ cup (125 mL) mozzarella, grated
¼ cup (50 mL) baby arugula
Wild Blueberry & Balsamic Reduction (recipe on opposite page)
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC)
To assemble, spread the naan bread with lobster sauce. Top with mackerel and onions. Sprinkle with cheese curds and mozzarella and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and top with arugula. Drizzle with blueberry balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.
Caramelized Molasses Onions
Makes ¾ cup (175 mL)
4 medium yellow onions
¼ lb (115 mL) butter
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup (125 mL) molasses
In a medium-sized frying pan melt butter and sauté yellow onions until almost translucent; add salt and pepper and finish with molasses, Reduce heat, cooking until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.
Wild Blueberry and Balsamic Reduction
Makes ½ cup (125 mL)
1 cup (250 mL) wild blueberry juice
½ cup (125 mL) balsamic vinegar
Place blueberry juice and balsamic vinegar in a medium-sized pot. Place on medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the reduction has reduced by ½ its volume and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Sesame Scallop Burger with a Citrus Parmesan Remoulade
Makes 4-6 burgers
4-6 sesame hamburger buns
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) Citrus Parmesan Remoulade
4-6 Asian-Style Scallop Burgers
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, shredded
12 slices English cucumber
4-6 mini tomatoes, diced
4-6 sprigs fresh cilantro
Butter hamburger buns and grill in a skillet until golden. Spread the bottom bun with a bit of remoulade, top with scallop burger, a slice of diced tomato, another dollop of remoulade, then the onions, carrots, sliced cucumber and a sprig of cilantro; add the top bun.
Asian-Style Scallop Burger
2 lbs (1 kg) scallops, thawed
3 green onions, cut on bias
4 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) black pepper
¼ cup (50 mL) sesame seeds
2 egg whites
1 cup (250 mL) panko crumbs
2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil (more if needed)
Dry scallops with paper towel and remove the beard or bits. Remove excess water from scallops, and place half into a food processor; pulse until smooth. Coarsely chop remaining scallops.
Put scallop puree, chopped scallops, chopped green onions, cilantro, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and sesame seeds into a large bowl. Mix well. Beat two egg whites and add them to the mixture along with panko. Refrigerate for 45 minutes. After chilling, remove from the fridge and shape into 4-oz (115 mL) burgers.
Heat canola oil in a non-stick frying pan and grill burgers for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Citrus Parmesan Remoulade
Makes 1½ cup (250 mL)
1 cup (250 mL) mayonnaise
¼ cup (50 mL) grated fresh
¼ cup (50 mL) green onions
Zest of ½ lemon
Zest of ½ lime
Juice of 1½ lemons
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh ground pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Serve on scallop burger.
Header no caption
Intro caption: Sesame Scallop Burger with a Citrus Parmesan Remoulade.