This edition of All You Can Eat features my crabbing expedition on Salt Spring Island. To listen click here. At the beginning of the show I talked about the listeria outbreak we’re living (and dying) through right now across Canada. For more info check this link at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website. (if you’re looking for the contest, it’s at the bottom of this post.)
I was invited by the folks at the Hastings House luxury inn to take part in a crabbing excursion, one of the many services they offer to their guests. We were going out to hunt the elusive Dungeness crab, which isn’t really that elusive, and fairly easy to catch in a well-maintained and baited trap.
In the photo you can see Gary LeMarchant, who has been crabbing the waters around Salt Spring for 30 years. Gary takes some time out from his regular day to escort Hastings House guests out on one of his crab boats, where they capture a trap with a hook, winch it up on the boat, and sort the crabs according to sex, (the females go back) and size. The males have to reach a certain body width before they are keepers.
Here you can see News 1130’s Claudia Kwan getting ready to measure a crab. It’s measured from side to side of the carapace, or main shell. Dungeness Crab is one of the seafoods you will find on most ‘safe to eat’ lists put out by those who watch seafood consumption around the world. The catch is sustainable and as long as you don’t eat the liver or pancreas of the crab, you won’t accumulate any toxins from eating its delectable flesh.
When it came to be my turn to haul up the crab trap and take out the crabs, I did quite well. I mean, I’ve handled lots of live crabs over the years. But somehow, one ornery critter did manage to reach back with a claw and give me a nasty pinch right through the rubber gloves I was wearing…and it hurt like hell for a few minutes. But I got even. I ate him…probably in one of the crab cakes Hastings House executive chef Marcel Kauer showed us how to make later that afternoon in his kitchen.
2 c crab meat coarsely chopped
¾ c fine dry bread crumbs
1 tsp dry mustard
1 T reduced fat mayo
1/3 c egg white
liberal sprinkle of seasoning salt
2 tsp finely chopped onions
Optional: finely chopped parsley or chives
finely chopped jalapeno
finely chopped sweet red bell pepper
Additional fine dry breadcrumbs for forming cakes
Preheat broiler. Mix first 7 and any optional ingredients together lightly; form into 2 ½ inch cakes with hands; drop onto pile of fine dry breadcrumbs and turn over. Fry in small amount of butter and olive oil (equal parts) on one side only in flameproof skillet. When lightly browned on the bottom only, place under broiler to brown top side and set cake. Serve immediately on warmed plates with lemon, Tabasco, etc. Yields 4 cakes (2main course servings or 4 hors d’oeuvres servings)
And now the contest! The prize is a magazine subscription to La Cucina Italiana. This magazine has been around since 1929, with Italian and North American editions, is beautifully written and photographed, with lots of great recipes offered with every issue. It comes out every other month and I’m just about to start cooking from the Summer Special Issue, which is loaded with lots of grilling recipes, tomato recipes and the way to make perfect gelato.
Of course you have to work for your prize. We are just about hitting the peak of the tomato season, at least for people who have had a good summer…and tomato means Italy. So please share with me on your blog your favourite Italian recipe involving the tomato. It can be a fresh tomato or a canned tomato recipe. Maybe it’s your family’s traditional tomato sauce recipe. And if the recipe is a secret, you can just tell me the story behind the recipe. Go to the bottom of the page and compose your entry in the comments box. The deadline is September 30th!