Feeling crabby? Try these ‘shore-to’ please recipes

Published 11:59 pm Friday, August 7, 2009

School starts soon but summer is only half over. Are you going to the beach? It’s crab season, so take along the cooler and buy some fresh crab to bring home. If you have the time and location, catch your own in a crab pot.

We have been enjoying some crab salads this summer. I found one from Mobile. The Pillars on Government Street serves it. One source said the salad was developed by Bill Bayley in 1947. A version in the Mobile Junior League cookbook follows.

West Indian Salad

(4 appetizer servings)

1 medium onion chopped (the Pillars uses red onions—a little more color)

1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat

4 oz. Wesson oil (I substituted olive oil)

3 oz. cider vinegar

4 oz. ice water (or 4 cubes ice)

Salt and pepper

Combine the picked over crab and the onion. Combine the oil and vinegar and whisk. Combine all of the above with the ice and refrigerate. Drain, salt and pepper to taste, and serve. The Pillars uses a lettuce leaf in a martini glass – if you want to impress.

Here is another wonderful cold crab salad, dressed in a little mayo. The acidity of ripe tomatoes is a natural combination with the crab’s clean seafood flavor. It is a great first-course. I liked it so much that I am serving it again to guests this weekend as a starter. It is from the cookbook, Real Cajun, by Donald Link.

Summer Crab and Tomato Salad

(Serves 4 for lunch or as

an appetizer)

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, and finely chopped

Zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

12 mint leaves, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Generous pinch of cayenne pepper

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, carefully picked over for shells and cartilage (not pasteurized) (take your time picking over the crab so as to keep it in big chunks)

2 large tomatoes

Sea salt

Combine the jalapeño, lime zest and juice, and vinegar in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and fold in the mayonnaise, mint, salt, red pepper flakes and cayenne.

Add the crab to the dressing and gently fold together. Slice the tomatoes a little shy of ½-inch thick. Divide the tomatoes among four salad plates and season with salt. Top the tomatoes with equal portions of the crab salad and serve immediately.

This crab recipe is from the Galatoire’s Cookbook, which has many great seafood recipes. If you get the chance to go to New Orleans, go to Galatoire’s and it will be a treat. They always have crab and their crab is juicy, fresh, and just the thing, often served on top of their grilled or sautéed fish.

Crabmeat Maison

(Serves 4)

½ tsp. lemon juice

1 level tbsp. Creole mustard

¾ cup mayonnaise

Salt to taste

Pinch cayenne pepper

Pinch white pepper

½ cup finely chopped green onions

1 Tbsp. capers

1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat

1 head romaine (the heart and more tender leaves chopped)

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, Creole mustard, mayonnaise, salt, peppers, green onions, capers, and parsley. Using a wire whisk, mix well. Fold in the crabmeat until mixture is well blended, but still keeping the lump crabmeat intact. Refrigerate covered for 1 hour. Serve on a bed of chopped romaine leaves.

I was in Baton Rouge the other day buying some crab at Tony’s Seafood, and ran into William Barber, the man who taught me about stuffing crawfish this past spring.

As everyone knows, people in Louisiana talk about food a lot. William asked me what I was cooking and I told him I was trying some new crab recipes. Well, he just happened to have a great crab cake recipe (already typed up). I tried it the next day with my fresh crab, and it is a winner. William had worked out the ingredients so that they were just right. He said it was good for any type crab: claw, lump, or back-fin. Thanks William. This is a truly good recipe.

Crab Cakes

(Compliments of William Barber)

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 Tbsp. green pepper, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/3 stalk celery, finely chopped

2 green onions, finely chopped

2 slices yellow onions, finely chopped

Sauté all ingredients in the butter. Let mixture cool down. One should have about ¾ to 1 cup.

In food processor combine:

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. Lea and Perrin Worcestershire Sauce

½ tsp. sugar

3 Tbsp. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

½ tsp. yellow mustard

½ tsp. Dijon mustard

Mix together well in processor, then add 13 crushed saltine crackers. The mixture will resemble thick grits. Then add the sautéed mixture that has cooled down.

Fold all ingredients with 1 lb. of crab and refrigerate for one to two hours. Remove from refrigerator and form patties by hand. You will make seven to eight patties. Lightly batter patties with Plain Progresso Bread Crumbs (I processed some Italian bread to make crumbs) and refrigerate for 30 minutes more. Sauté patties in pecan oil (with a dab of butter or Canola) on each side for three to four minutes. I did not have pecan oil so I just used unsalted butter to sauté the crab cakes. Serve with your favorite sauce.