Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Feelin' Crabby

At the end of our recent trip to the Strip, we wandered into Wholey's to get some seafood for dinner.  DB~ wasn't feeling too adventurous, as I kept trying to get her to choose some interesting type of fish not usually found at Giant Eagle (really wanted to try Opah).  She wanted crab cakes, so we got two crab cakes.

As we were walking past the live fish tanks, though, we saw a man filling bags up with freshly steamed crabs in the hard shell.  Plus they were already seasoned with Old Bay (heavily).  We decided to get 5 crabs to pick apart, too.

When we got home, I put about 2 inches of water into a large stockpot and laid a bunch of metal trivets in the bottom to keep the crabs out of the direct water.  I stacked the 5 crabs in the pot and steamed them for just 8 minutes, only to warm them back up again.

Prior to the crab steaming, I prepared a vegetable hash out of the bounty picked at the Farmers Market earlier in the Strip.  I cubed some of the Japanese turnip root, made medallions out of the Taiwanese eggplant, diced the sweet red pepper, halved the blue potato, and minced one clove of the red garlic.  First I seared the veggies for a minute in a hot skillet, then added about 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan and put the whole pan in the oven for 15 minutes.

When the braised vegetables came out, they were tender and absorbed some of the broth.  While preparing them, I sprinkled some salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary on them too.

As for the crabs in the shell, I haven't had them that way since my family went to the Maryland shore (Bethany Beach, Ocean City) nearly every summer in the mid-1990's.  We spread some newspaper out on the counter and got some hand-held crackers out to crush the shell.  My technique ended up being -- twist all the legs off and set them aside for later, crush the shell with the cracker, twist the shell in the middle, scoop out the lump meat in the back of the shell, procure some meat from the legs and claws.

It was very fun and very messy to eat crab this way.  I hope that we do this next summer when they are truly in season.  Much cleaner to eat just a crab cake!  We ended up splitting 1 crab cake and saved the other one for another dinner later in the week.

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