Monday, April 30, 2007

Lemongrass Crab

Frank was making me extremely jealous this weekend over his dining experiences while on his trip to Southeast Asia. We were looking at some of the photos he took while on a boat in Ha Long Bay and I started going crazy after looking at the freshness and utter deliciousness of the seafood they were eating. I started to whine and demanded we go get some crab! Now, I am a Maryland girl, so I almost always cook my crabs with beer and Old Bay. The crab he had in Ha Long was cooked with lemongrass and seemed very pure and simple. Actually, aside from the Old Bay, I believe seafood should be eaten simply so you can enjoy it's “essence” as Frank likes to call it. So off we went to get our fresh crab. I like to go where I can pick them out myself, so I can grab the fighters! There is something primal about your food trying to attack you. Not that I have a lot of experience with menacing ingredients, so far it's been just crustaceans. We got 4 rock crabs at a very cheap price of $1.99/lb (they weighed in at about 1lb each) and of course bought some beer to wash it all down. I’ll tell you right now that we didn’t get enough beer. So based off of Frank’s memory, which isn’t so great when it comes to food and his photos, I tried to recreate the dish. I don’t think it was exactly the same, but it was really claw sucking good! I always cook my seafood with a little alcohol, in this case some sake because it seems to enhance the sweetness of the meat. He also remembered that he had some dipping sauce with the seafood, so he found a recipe at Food Lion’s site of all places! I barely used it, but it was a wonderful match and it would be delicious with prawns. You know when you are with the right person when you can sit and have a meal and not say a word to one another for about 2 hours (yes, we are very thorough crab eaters). So here you go, my recipe for lemongrass steamed crab. My next crab fantasy will be filled when I get a bushel or 2 of blue crabs for Frank’s birthday and cook them up the old fashioned Maryland way. I LOVE CRABS!

Lemongrass Crab
serves 2

4 small live crabs (about 1lb each; either blue or rock crab or your favorite)
3 stalks lemongrass cut into rounds
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 cup sake
1 tbsp canola oil

1. In a large wok, heat the canola oil and quickly sauté the ginger, lemongrass and garlic.
2. When the pan is really hot out in 1/4 cup of sake and add the crabs (I had to do these 2 at a time as they were to big to fit in my wok) and cover with a lid.
3. Steam for about 10 minutes. Watch the liquid level and add more sake or water so the pan doesn’t dry out. I also flipped them about half way through cooking.
4. Transfer to a platter and serve with dipping sauce.


Steamy KItchen said...

$1.99 a pound?!?! Oh I am SO jealous!!!!! First of all, even though I live in Florida, I can't even get live crabs at the supermarket. If I do, they would probably be $13 a pound.

tony said...

Can't wait until Franks crab cookin' eat fest

cee said...

I saw your photo on Tastespotting, and I couldn't get over how similar it was to a picture I took of crabs a couple years ago:

It even has the green leafy stuff in the front-left corner.

I also thought I'd contribute a recipe for a Thai 'seafood dipping sauce', which you may enjoy. Thais steam the crabs (no oil, no flavorings) and then dip them into this sauce:

chopped garlic, sliced thai green chilies, chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt (or fish sauce).

Sorry I don't have any measurements. It's about a pinch of everything with maybe 1/2 a lime.


Michele said...

That is so funny! Cee, your photo is really beautiful! It's a little uncanny that they are so similar, I guess there are only so many ways to photograph a crab! Ha ha! Can't wait to try the Thai "seafood dipping sauce", sounds like it would be good on lots of things, not just seafood.