Monday, April 30, 2012

A Lobster Tale

**Note: Sorry for the delay... I wrote this post a few weeks ago, but I had trouble loading the videos.  Not sure if it was a problem with my internet, the website, or just me.  Point is, I finally figured it out.

Easter in Martinique is the season for crabs.  The traditional Easter meal is called Matoutou, which is made up of touloulou (a type of crab) and rice.  Apparently, it originated from the days of slavery because Easter Monday was the only day they had off to do as they pleased.  So they trapped crabs on the beaches to eat for their Easter meal.  Nowadays, I've heard that people hunt or buy crabs about a month in advance, feed them and keep them alive until about a week before Easter, then kill them by sticking a sharp needle between their eyes.  Lovely.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to eat Matoutou.  But I was lucky enough to eat freshly caught langouste.  For those of you who don't know what langouste is, maybe this picture will clarify:

Café menu in FDF with English translations... sort of

Okay, so maybe Martinicans aren't the best at translating.  (For more proof and a good laugh, explore the Banana Museum website.)

Une langouste=lobster.  But not the type of lobster we are familiar with at home (that would be un homard).  Langouste are small, spiny lobsters that are used in creole dishes.  To further complicate things, there are even different types of langouste: langouste royale and langouste brésilienne.  

Last week, I went out on a boat with some friends while they hunted for langouste.  After, I went with Jean-Yves to his house to cook them for dinner.  And it was quite the... interesting... experience. 

Langouste Royale

Langouste Brésilienne 

Happy little Langouste family

As I was holding up the first langouste to take pictures of it, its legs and tail kept moving a little.  Jean-Yves kept telling me it was just the nerves, but I had some doubts when it recoiled when he tried to take his knife to it.  Still, he insisted that it was definitely dead and had been for hours.

(If the video doesn't work, try clicking here.)

After filming that, Jean-Yves admitted that maybe the langouste was still alive.  Awesome, I've just been playing with the poor thing!  Well, he didn't stay alive for long...

(Or click here)

While the butchering was a little graphic to watch, cooking the langouste was a little bit better.

Now, I've had lobster before at home, and I love it.  But langouste does not taste the same.  I don't remember lobster tasting extremely fishy, but langouste tastes like the sea.  It's like la mer in your mouth.  I enjoyed it, but for me, it's not something I would pay big bucks for.  At a restaurant, langouste can cost upwards of 30 euros.

Two days later, Jean-Yves and his friends went hunting for langouste again.  Joelle and I, along with some other friends, met the men on the beach in the afternoon to have a BBQ.  How amazing is that?  We got to eat freshly caught langouste on the beach in the Caribbean.  We had to pinch ourselves to make sure it was still real life.

I'm happy to say that even after 6 1/2 months of being in Martinique, I'm still experiencing new things and still finding myself surprised at how fortunate I am to have opportunities like this.