Fledgling Foodie: Will work for food.

I conquered the crab.  Don’t ask me why I was so afraid to open that little white package….. (Kieran was wary, too).

Arrrhhhhghhh! the crab said as it emerged.  Well, it may as well have.

And into the pot it went.  Mildly freezer-burned, (which is why we got it in the first place — the vacuum didn’t seal correctly and it wouldn’t have lasted while Lydia and Burk are away at Oxford) but nothing at all serious.  Just melted right away.  I was very pleased to see that the crab was already slightly dismembered.  No little crab eyes or little crab antennae, and no need to take needle-nosed pliers to the little crab back.  Just a sweet hunk o’ cartilage full of meat and lots of little creepy hairy crab legs.  The carnage was impressive.

Of course, I have no idea how to attractively plate a GIANT artichoke and an awkward gangly half-crab and bread, so they all just shared the plate as best they could and side-bowls abounded.  I served the crab with melted butter, the bread with softened butter, and the artichoke with butter mixed with roasted garlic, sour cream and mayo.  Duh.

How I cooked my crab:
First of all, it’s definitely worth noting that this wasn’t in fact a WHOLE crab as I originally thought.  This doesn’t change cooking instructions, but it does change the dismemberment plan.  (That was bad.  I had to. You understand.)  Anyway, some people say to add a ton of salt (1 cup per gallon ratio) but the little guy grew up in salt water and I figured he was probably salty enough by himself, so I probably only added a tablespoon or two to my water and boiled.  20 minutes later, I took him out with tongs and let him sit for a couple minutes.  That was it.  So easy.  By the way, cooking artichokes is pretty much the same process, except instead of adding salt I added a squeeze of lemon juice, and they cook a bit longer (30 minutes).

Other helpful skills/tools/advice:
• Eric and I stole “crab zippers” from Joe’s crab shack last time we were there (see picture above — yes, this is allowed), and those were very helpful.  You can also use a nut cracker, pliers if you’re feeling MacGyvery, and/or a seafood fork (the litttttle baby kind).
How to roast garlic in the microwave, for all your artichoke sauce needs, aka if you feel the need to add something else so you don’t feel like all you’re eating is butter.  As I mentioned above, I mixed up roasted garlic, mayo, sour cream, and butter.  It was good.
• I use my salad spinner for a lot of seafood thawing — it’s the perfect bowl to run water into or pop into the fridge, and then you just pull out the basket and voila.  Drained food. No more chasing around every little wily shrimp.
• When I was looking up side dishes for crabs, someone said artichokes were a good idea because then you can “get messy with the whole meal” or something to that effect.  Although it was fun, let me emphasize that this was the most arduous meal I’ve ever eaten. A breeze to cook, but we sat at the dinner table exerting more energy than we consumed (and barely talking to avoid breaking concentration) for a good hour.  As much as I love artichokes, I found myself craving green beans, or some other vegetable that does not require effort.  Do not attempt this meal with children.

Verdict:
This was a delicious meal that I thoroughly enjoyed, even though after all that crab-cracking, nibbling teeny tiny pieces of artichoke became extremely tedious.  Next time I will pair crab with an easy vegetable and artichoke with an easy main dish.

Thank you to Burk and Lydia for the awesome free crab we would probably never have paid for, thank you to New Seasons for shockingly having the lowest price around on artichokes, and for offering  a free baguette Chinook Book coupon.  Total price for this meal: $5.  Whoa.

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One Comment to “Fledgling Foodie: Will work for food.”

  1. You are funny, Brynna. Did you open the crab package in the bowl then dump it in the pot so you wouldn’t have to touch it? :) I think I would do the same. Anyway, it looks/looked delicious!

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