Sunday, May 12, 2013

Ingredient 18 – Blue Crab

I am slightly annoyed to admit that this is the second week in a row my blog plans have been ruined by ingredient unavailability.  I was going to make a salad with pea shoots, but when I arrived at the farmers’ market on Tuesday the vendor informed me that some lady bought the entire bag of shoots.  After hearing this news, my brain went into overdrive / panic mode.  I bought some baby greens and some blue crab meat, figuring I could create a salad with the two.

Fun fact, blue crab is the official crustacean of Maryland.  While this news was hardly surprising, I was surprised to learn that female blue crabs only mate once in their lifetime.    Also of note, male and female crabs can de distinguished by the shape of the abdomen, known as the apron.  Male aprons are long and slender like the Washington Monument.  The female apron is round and wide like the dome of the United States Capitol.  Cooking breaks down the pigments responsible for the shell’s blue hue.  Thus, if you order blue crab at a restaurant, the crab that makes it’s way to your plate will appear reddish orange in color.

Blue Crab Salad
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Serves 2 to 3 as a meal
16 oz lump blue crabmeat
4 tbp mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
4 tsp tarragon leaves
2 plum tomatoes
2 avocados
3 to 4 cups mixed baby greens
2 tsp chives
Black pepper

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Begin by washing the lettuce and washing and chopping the tarragon and chives.  Place the herbs in a large bowl with the lemon juice, mayonnaise and salt and pepper.  Combine the contents of the bowl with a fork.

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Next, prepare the avocados and tomato.  Pit and slice the avocado.  If you do not own an avocado tool, buy one.  They make neatly slicing avocados a breeze.   Seed and chop the tomatoes.  Place the chopped avocado and tomatoes in the bowl with the herbs and mayo and gently combine with a fork.

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Last but not least, place the crab meat in the bowl and gently mix with the fork.  Place 1/2 to 1/3 the mixture atop a plate of the baby greens and enjoy.

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I am sad to report that this salad was not the hit I was expecting.  I really love salads with crab and I thought this one was just ok.  Dave gave it a thumbs down.  He said the crab mixture was too goopy and lacked flavor.  Upon reflection, I think he is right.  If you make this salad, reduce the avocado and mayo by half.  Maybe increase the lemon juice too.  Overall grade: C.      

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