Colossal size crab meat from Blue Swimming Cra...

Image via Wikipedia

Granted the holiday parties are over, but a whole new season of parties are just beginning. Thanks to modern technology, fantastic lump crab is just a crack away. I could dedicate many posts to the wonderful uses for crab, but to keep this one realistic, how about I keep this to three great appetizers that can be served anytime of year for any event (Superbowl is coming soon)!

Lets start with the TYPE of crab to use.

If you have a ton of time, live near a great source of fresh crab, the right tools, and the patience – by all means steam/cook your fresh crab, crack those legs and body and harness the wonderful meat.  Yes – this is the freshest you will get and most delicious. But I think it will be time for a trip to the emergency room before you can harness enough meat to make any of the below.

When I want to save my fingers, knuckles, blood sweat and tears and the day. I go over to the seafood counter at my grocery store.  In the racks in front of the display cases, you will see good quality packaged crab (frozen is OK)- below in order of cost:

Jumbo Lump Crab – Whole crab meat from the body area with NO cartilage or shell (premium) – this is what you want for your cakes, crab rolls, or fresh salads.  This is the most expensive use it when show and freshness is important.

Back-Fin Lump Crab – Contains large pieces of lump and some broken body meat (good for baked dishes) – be careful to sift through to remove any shell or cartilage pieces that may have jumped in.  This is next in cost and can be used in cakes mixed with the jumbo lump, beignets or on its own.

Claw – Darker and sweeter than the lump meat good for soups or to mix with jumbo lump to increase the number of cakes you can make.

Cocktail Claw – is the tip of the claw with some shell for easier handling (pincher part) and used like shrimp cocktail.

I DO NOT RECOMMEND imitation crab or the crab found next to the canned tunafish.  However, everyone has a budget so use what you can afford.

You CAN use a combination of any of the above to help stretch your budget.  The flavors you add will enhance the final dish.

Pick one to suite your budget and quantity of guests.  If you are only cooking for a couple of people – go for the gold (Jumbo Lump) if feeding a ton a people – go for a combination and make small serving sizes.

The three recipes that will please any guest:

Crab Cakes (Jumbo lump at least 50% is key)

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms (At least 50% back-fin)

Artichoke and Crab Beignets (Any mix is fine)

Sauces are at the end.

Let start with CRAB CAKES

I don’t claim to challenge anyone’s crab cake recipe, but these are good.

Ingredients (makes about 10- 2 diameter 1in thick cakes)

3 cups Crab meat (assumed picked through, pre-cooked)
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup diced orange pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow pepper
1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper (to add the seeds or not is up to you. Seeds and white flesh make it hotter) (optional)
1 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic minced  – yes, I put garlic in just about everything ; ) to my defense – garlic is good for you
2 TBS old bay seasoning
1 tsp paprika
1 TBS mustard powder
1 – 2 TBS dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
dash of worcestershire sauce
2 – 3 TBS mayo
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Oil for “frying”

Pre-heat oven to 350

Step 1: Sauté: heat your olive oil over med-high heat. Add onions and peppers (bell and jalapeno).  cook for about 1 minute, add the garlic.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Step 2: Mix the mayo:  In a large mixing bowl – add the mayo, old bay, paprika, mustard powder, Dijon mustard, lemon/lime, Worcestershire sauce. Mix and taste. Adjust with salt and pepper.

Step 3:  Add Crab, pepper mixture to mayo mix.  Toss.  Then form into patties.  Let set for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: get out a baking sheet. And heat a deep skillet with about enough oil to come up to 1/2 the side of the cake over med-high

heat (not too high or they will burn).

Step 5:  In batches, brown the cakes on each side, then remove to the baking sheet and place in oven to finish off (about 7 – 10 minutes)

Voila – enjoy!

CRAB STUFFED MUSHROOMS

These are soo good… fresh out of the oven, or at room temp. They are a great buffet item that can sit for a while and not go bad.

Ingredients (makes 12 large stuffer mushrooms)

3/4 cup Crab meat (assumed picked through, pre-cooked)
12 large button or crimini mushrooms, washed, stems removed, diced and set aside (crimini are baby portabella – you can use portabella- just understand these measurements will only fill about 2 – 3)
3 – 4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup onions minced
1/2 cup minced bell peppers of your choice
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs, plus for topping
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus for topping
1/2 TBS mayo
2 TBS minced bacon
1 TBS old bay
Fresh ground pepper
2 tbs fresh minced parsley
Optional – red pepper flakes or minced jalapenos or cayenne
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 375

Step 1: Heat olive oil on pan over med-high heat. Add onions, diced mushroom stems, and bell peppers. Sautee for a minute, add garlic and bacon. Saute for an additional minute.  remove from heat to cool.

Step 2:  Mix the mayo, old bay, pepper, (any optional ingredients) and parsley together.  Add in the cooled ingredients from step 1. Toss together. Add in the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and mix again.  taste.  Adjust seasoning.

Step 3: Stuff those mushrooms and place on a baking sheet. top with a mixture of bread crumbs and parm cheese.

Step 4: Bake about 25 – 35 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Remove and eat.  You can par-cook for about 20 minutes, remove, cool refrigerate/freeze and when ready reheat at about 350 until heated through.

ARTICHOKE and CRAB BEIGNETS

Yield:  about 2 dozen

It’s like a nice fluffy hush-puppie with amazing flavor!

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Pinch of Cayenne (more if you can handle it)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 – 2/3 cup artichoke hearts thinly sliced
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Fresh ground pepper
Dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
Dash or two of hot sauce (more if that is what you want)
Fresh chopped parsley
Vegetable Oil for deep-frying, should be about 4 inches deep

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions. Season with salt, pepper, Old Bay, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sliced artichokes and the garlic. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes.

Step 2: Add the crabmeat and cook for another minute. Remove and set aside to cool.  (can be made 1 day in advance up to here)

Step 3: Whisk the eggs, milk, and baking powder in a mixing bowl until well blended. Add the flour, a little at a time, beating and incorporating until all the flour is used and the batter is smooth. Season with salt, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Mix well. Stir in the parsley. Add the artichoke and crab mixture to the batter and mix with a wooden spoon just to incorporate – do not over mix or the dough will not rise.

Step 4: Heat the oil to 360 degrees. take a table-spoon of batter at a time (and in batches),  and place/drop into the hot oil. When the beignets pop to the surface, roll them around with a slotted spoon in the oil to brown them evenly. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Step 5: Remove to paper towels on a rack to drain, and serve hot/warm

DIPPING SAUCES

REMOULADE (can be made in advance – Emeril)

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

1 egg
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
3 tablespoons Creole or whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard 1/2 tsp
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt
Cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil

Instructions:

Combine the first 10 ingredients in a food processor with a metal blade and process until smooth. Season with salt, cayenne and pepper. While the machine is running, slowly add the oil, a little at a time, until thick. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

 

WASABI MAYO (can be made in advance)

Ingredients

1 cup Mayo
1/2 TBS lime juice
1/4 cup chopped Scallions/Green onions
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared wasabi (more if wanted)
1/2 tsp soy sauce
Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Instructions:

Combine tall ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed

There are plenty of other sauce that you can use, but these two are quick easy and compliment the recipes above.

Have fun and enjoy the Crab.

 

Nicole

About culinaryease

I am a single mother who loves cooking and providing tips, techniques, to get everyone out of the takeout lane and into the kitchen.

One response »

  1. Karen says:

    YUM!!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s