All You Can Eat – Crab Expedition, vol. 53 (and a contest!)

Img_7191This 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.

Img_7179 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.

Img_7213 Here is Marcel’s recipe:
Marcel’s Crab Cakes

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

Img_7218 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)

Lacucina_cover 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!

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4 Responses to All You Can Eat – Crab Expedition, vol. 53 (and a contest!)

  1. Angela Przech says:

    Not a tomato recipe, but a story of tomato love.

    My first tomato memory

    When I was five, I was afraid of my grandpa. He was a tough Italian cop who terrified me. I thought he hated all of us grandchildren.
    One day, I went to a farm with my grandpa, mom, sister, and brother. We were there to pick tomatoes, so we could can them. We drove the car out into a field and walked down the rows with bushel baskets as high as our waist.
    I remember Grandpa explaining how to pick a tomato. Only pick the reddest tomato. Make sure it isn’t too firm or soft. Twist the stem and take it off so we can fit more tomatoes in the bushel basket. Make sure the tomato smells sweet. If you pick a rotten one throw it as far as you can. But most important, make sure to taste a few.
    I had a perplexed look on my face. My mom had told me to never eat the fruits or vegetables in the supermarket. Just as I was about to ask her if it was OK, Grandpa said, “GO AHEAD, here, like me”. And he took a big bite. I picked a tomato, brushed off the dirt, smelled the sweetness, and took a big bite. Juice and seeds ran down my hands and chin. The taste was amazing! But the loving smile on my grandpa’s face was better.
    My grandpa and I were forever connected by our love of tomatoes. Every summer from that one on, whenever I visited by grandparents (which was quite often), I always shared tomatoes with Grandpa. We walked around the garden while he explained all the different types he was growing that year. Then we would pick a few, brush off the dirt, dig in, and smile while juice ran down our hands and chins.
    My favorite was always the Oxbow heart tomatoes (solid with few seeds).

  2. Because of the foodblogs, I was more inspired to try new and different foods, I am learning a lot and also thanks for sharing your ideas because at the same time I am also trying my best to learn how to prepare (decent meals 🙂 Busby SEO challenge


  3. Raven9 says:

    This is a super simple one pot recipe that is incredibly delicious. You can throw it together in very little time with very basic ingredients. A great last minute side dish – on the table in 30 minutes. I use a deep cast iron fry pan. When you put it in the oven it will look like it won’t work – but it will! Definitely use smoked paprika – I believe that it is the ingredient that takes the recipe over the top.

    Mark Bittman’s Tomato “Paella”

    3 1/2 cups stock or water
    1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, minced
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    Large pinch saffron threads (optional)
    2 teaspoons Spanish pimentón (smoked paprika), or other paprika
    2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice
    Minced parsley for garnish.

    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Warm stock or water in a saucepan. Put tomatoes in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat.
    2. Put remaining oil in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, saffron if you are using it, and paprika and cook for a minute more. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is shiny, another minute or two. Add liquid and stir until just combined.
    3. Put tomato wedges on top of rice and drizzle with juices that accumulated in bottom of bowl. Put pan in oven and roast, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Check to see if rice is dry and just tender. If not, return pan to oven for another 5 minutes. If rice looks too dry but still is not quite done, add a small amount of stock or water (or wine). When rice is ready, turn off oven and let pan sit for 5 to 15 minutes. Do not be tempted to cover the dish to finish it off – you want the tomatoes to stay kind of chewy.
    4. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with parsley. If you like, put pan over high heat for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving.
    Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

  4. Sonia Lo says:

    I’m not an Italian, but my father has a fabulous dish made with fresh ripen tomato and ox tail.

    When we first immigrated to Canada 16 years ago, my father had to stay back in our home country, like most of Asian parents, to work and support the family. We didn’t get to see him very often, usually 1 month every year. I remember when I first tasted this dish, I was so surprised that a super traditional Asian man can make such flavorful “Western dish” using supermarket ingredients. (Asian grocery stores were not very common back then) A father, made a simple yet superb dish for his daughter, with love.

    Ingredients are: Ox tail, onion, fresh ripen tomatoes, soy sauce (for flavor), a can of chicken broth (or beef consume if you prefer, but I find it too salty), and a dash of love–that’s the secret ingredient:)

    Brown the ox tail on all sides, fry sliced onion in hi heat without burning it. Add all the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook until the ox tail is tender. When it’s done, if the sauce is still soupy, remove the ox tail and reduce the sauce until thickens (or use corn starch). Serve over a pile of hot, steamy white rice with LOTS of sauce.

    I have no idea where he picked up the recipe. Maybe he just invented it. For a man that is too shy to say “I love you” to his family, it is the best love a father can give to his daughter, the Asian way.

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