If we can cook it, you can cook it!

Budget-Friendly Crabmeat and Two Ways to Serve it.

Spread the love
         Not too long ago, my friend Susan wrote and asked me to send her the link to a very nasty article in Bloomberg News about farmed Asian Seafood.  I won’t go into the appetite suppressing details but the news was not good.  It involved shrimp from Vietnam, which is now a major supplier of the shellfish to the US.  Bad enough that our own shrimp has been dodging the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but this story gave both Susan and I pause. 


Crab on the other hand, seemed relatively benign and the brand I’d used for years, Phillips, had always come through for me.  But suddenly Phillips disappeared from our Fairway Market and was replaced with Chicken of the Sea.  I’d always assumed Phillips was as American as Andrew but I was mistaken.  Phillips is actually from the Phillipines.  Chicken of the Sea, a brand of canned tuna I’ve known since childhood, must be American.  In fact, its roots started here in 1914 and it’s headquartered in San Diego.  But I could have taken a clue from it’s CEO’s name, Shue Wing Chan, that it may not still be as American as it once was.  In fact, it’s Thai-owned by Thai Union Frozen Products TLC.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but there’s a certain level of transparency missing from its website www.chickenofthesea.comand I still am unclear where it sources its crabmeat.  There’s no country of origin on its can.  It’s processed in Georgia and there are both a “Wild Caught” symbol and that of the “NFI Crab Council” on the can.  The Crab Council seal states that it is “Committed to Stability”.  Turns out the Crab Council is an industry group and its commitment to sustainability sounds like self preservation to me. But I checked www.seafoodwatch.org and Atlantic Blue Crab is on the okay list.  That’s as long as it is Atlantic Blue Crab. But here it was in Fairway in four configurations—jumbo lump, super lump, lump and claw.  The claw was priced at 9.99 a lb.  The prices rose from there and I subscribe to the belief that it’s smart to be thrifty, so the claw meat is what I took home.      

One pound of crab meat is a lot for two people. It ended up being the basis for two meals.   I’d seen a pasta recipe authored by David Tanis in a recent New York Times that featured crab and basically positioned itself as a brunch or luncheon item.  Once I made this incredibly rich sauce for dinner, I realized that Chef Tanis was right.  Ideally, this should be served in smaller ‘luncheon’-sized portions or as an appetizer, it’s that rich.  It’s amazingly easy to make because crab itself barely needs any cooking time.  The four green items—serrano chile, chives, scallions and tarragon—lift the dish out of rich crab decadence.  I used fresh fettucine from Eataly. Chef Tanis used dry linguine.  My version was also even creamier than his. I used an entire 8 oz.container of Crème Fraiche for two people.  Unless you are cooking for four, use half that amount for two.  With a green salad and a lemon vinaigrette, you can have a very satisfying dinner on the table in 20 minutes. The recipe is below.

While I upped the quantity of Crème Fraiche, I hung back on the crab and was left with fully half a pound.  Crab really needs to be used within two days of opening so we had a quite a crab festival.  I’d spied a recipe for an Open-Faced Crab and Asparagus sandwich in Food Network Magazine.  Quite honestly, I’ve all but given up on that publication.  Despite all the fascinating combinations you see daily on Food Network TV, they never seem to show up in the magazine. Instead, it’s filled with ‘the lowest common denominator’ recipes that are one step away from the Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup School of Cooking. It seems filled with the kind of However, asparagus is pouring into the market at great prices so I adapted the Food Network recipe and was quite pleased with the results.  I had some brioche buns that I switched out for the Texas toast in the original. I added lime juice to the crab mixture to give it some zing.  And I did the broiling in the Toaster Oven. The dish was very well received by Andrew and myself.  I should mention that it appeared on Food Network’s  “Contest” page where readers of the magazine are invited to “Name this Dish!”.  Andrew came up with Croque Marie Antoinette.  Not bad at all!  Here are the recipes:

4 thoughts on “Budget-Friendly Crabmeat and Two Ways to Serve it.”

  • It's crab season here in Western Australia so I bought three freshly cooked ones and made the Spicy Crab Fettuccine last night (Good Friday eve) for dinner. It was absolutely delicious. Thank you for yet another excellent recipe.

  • Dear Michele, It is always such a pleasure to hear from you! I am delighted you could work one of our recipes into your Easter festivities. My very best to you and sorry I did not get a chance to wish you Happy Easter in time for the big day. All best, Monte

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.