Friday, July 5, 2019

Quick Prep for Soft-Shell Green Crabs

fried soft-shells
Q: Is there a quick prep for soft-shell green crabs?

A: Yes! You can prepare them minimally by removing just the aprons, mouth piece and gills. Leave everything else intact including the eyes. Wash them well in cold water and drain. 

Coat them in your favorite seasoned flour or batter and deep fry. When I make the softies for myself or family/friends this is what I typically do...unless someone can't bare to look at the crabs' eyes!

For this batch (pictured above) I coated the prepared crabs in an egg mixture then the seasoned flour and deep fried until golden brown. I know they are done once their bodies are stiff.


Green Crab Cafe wishes you and your family a happy and safe Independence Day!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Monkfish and Crab Ceviche

If you eat or make ceviche you know that the seafood is usually "cooked" in an acidic liquid such as lime or lemon juice. However, this ceviche is made with steamed monkfish and green crab roe. This is a dish to make if you do not want to eat any raw seafood. If you cook with monkfish you may have noticed an occasional 1-inch string-like worm here and there--which is quite common according to my fisherman friend, Captain Ralph MacDonald of New Hampshire. They are harmlesss when the fish is cooked. When you make this you can adjust the ingredients and season with acid and salt according to your preference and taste. This colorful and delicious ceviche dish makes a great appetizer for a small crowd of 6-8.

This week Dr. Gabriela Bradt of UNH consulted with me to make something using green crabs and fish of the week which happens to be monkfish. She brought this ceviche dish, fried rice and fried soft-shell green crabs to the Farmers' Market in Exeter, New Hampshire for the market customers to sample. She tells me the items were a hit. She and her interns were able to sell some female hard-shell green crabs for those who want to try making ceviche at home with the roe. Dr. Bradt is a pioneer in selling green crabs and bringing green crab prepared foods to the Farmers' Market in the US! It is never easy selling new ingredients, let alone invasive species to the public but today she did it...and some of those brave customers get to experiment with a new food ingredient! This is a remarkable week in green crab history for New Hampshire and the US!

monkfish and crab ceviche

Monkfish and Crab Ceviche

Ingredients:

About 1 1/2 lbs monkfish, steamed until opague and tender, diced
About 20-25 female green crabs, steamed and roe removed
1 whole sweet corn, steamed and cut off the kernels
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
About 1/8 small red onion, thinly sliced and cut in half, soaked in cold water
About 1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
About 2 Tbsp finely chopped scallion, green parts only
Zest from 1 lime
Zest from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lime
Juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon
Salt to taste

Method:

Cut the monkfish lengthwise into thinner pieces to cook faster. Steam the fish until it is opaque and you can easily pierce the thickest part of the fish with a fork. Let it cool and dice or cut into small bite size.

Steam the crabs for about 10 minutes. Let them cool and remove the roe.

In the last 3-4 minutes of steaming the crabs add the corn to steam. Remove once cooked and slice off the kernels.

Soak the red onion slices in cold or ice water for about 15-20 minutes. Remove and squeeze out the water. This will help eliminate a strong onion taste.

In a large glass bowl add cut fish, roe, corn kernels, peppers, onion, cilantro, scallion, zest, juices and salt to taste. Gently mix all ingredients and adjust the acidic juices and salt as needed.

Helpful Hints:

*You may make this ahead of time but do not mix the cilantro, scallion, juices and salt until about an hour before you are ready to serve.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Fried Rice

This is an easy dish to make and you can easily adapt it using any type of protein that you prefer. You can even mix different types of meat with seafood such as chicken and fish or shrimp. My mother often makes a delicious batch using chicken, shrimp and Chinese sausage. In this recipe I use monkfish. The beauty about monkfish is that it does not flake or break into small bits when cooked. I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables for convenience but you can choose any fresh or frozen vegetables that you prefer. This mixed vegetables consist of peas, corn, carrots, green beans and lima beans.

I normally cook my rice in water but for this recipe I use green crab stock for extra flavoring. This time I simmer the stock for 30 minutes for a richer stock. Generally the liquid ratio to the uncooked rice is based on your preference of how dry or wet you want your cooked rice to be, the age of your uncooked rice, and the type of uncooked rice you use. I made my long-grain jasmine white rice a day ahead, fluffed the cooked rice with chopsticks and kept it in the refrigerator after it has been cooled. This way the rice will be a little drier. In my family we make fried rice using leftover rice. 

I always wash my rice in water to remove some of the starch and any non-rice items before I cook it. In the rural part of Vietnam some of the grains are dried outside, sometimes along the road (aka Highway 1). I remember my late grandmother looking through the rice before she cooked and removed non-rice items such as insects, tiny pebbles, or rice husks. Luckily here in the US the purchased rice is often very clean and you can skip this step. You can add either salted or unsalted green crab roe. I prefer the salted crabs but that's because I have some in my kitchen. If you have soft shell crabs you can fry some and garnish your dish.

fried rice
Fried Rice

Ingredients:

3 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups Simple Green Crab Stock
1 oz Salted Green Crab (Ba Khia) roe, chopped
2 Tbsp canola oil (or another type of your choice)
1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onion
1/2 lb monkfish tail, cut into small bite size
12 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables (or cut your own)
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped scallion
1/2 to 1 tsp ground black or white pepper

Method:

Cook the rice in stock. After it is cooked, fluff it and let it air dry to cool.

Steam the Salted Green Crab (Ba Khia) for about 8-10 minutes and remove the roe once the crabs are cooled. Set the roe aside.

Heat a large non-stock wok or pan and add oil. Once the oil is hot add onion. Saute the onion until translucent and soft. Add monkfish and saute until it is just cooked or opague. Remove from the wok or pan and set aside. Strain and discard any liquid before using.

Rinse the vegetables and strain if using frozen. Using medium high heat stir in the vegetables in the same wok or pan and add soy sauce and tomato paste. Mix everything well and once the vegetables are cooked gradually add a little of rice. Blend the rice in with the rest of the ingredients. Continue to add more rice until all of the rice is in the pot. Try to blend all the rice in well so there will be no white rice left. Stir in roe, scallion and pepper. Mix everything well. Turn off heat after the roe and scallion are heated through or the scallion is just cooked.

fried rice with sea scallops and steamed vegetables

Friday, May 24, 2019

Sugar Kelp Salad

This is a simple sea vegetable salad inspired by the many Japanese restaurants across the US. Usually the greens are an unnatural but pretty neon green due to food coloring. In this recipe I am using fresh organic tender baby sugar kelp from aqua farmer Catherine Puckett based out of Block Island (Rhode Island). Catherine also raises oysters and traps green crabs. You may contact Catherine directly via email oysterwench@aol.com or call her at 401-741-2023.

In order to clean the fresh sugar kelp this is my method. I glide each strip of kelp with my fingers to remove any ocean debris. Rinse all of them several times in more cold water. For this salad I cut each into strips about 6-8 inches long, stack the strips on top of each other, roll them up and cut them with either scissors or a knife to create approximately quarter inch thin strips. Next blanch the strands in boiling water for about a minute. For the stems I keep them in the boiling water for 5 minutes to help tenderize them further. After this strain, rinse them in cold water and let them drain in a colander to remove as much of the liquid as possible. 

Recently I met my husband's PhD advisor, Professor Dinesh O. Shah and his family. Dr. Shah is a brilliant, friendly, kind and energetic man in his 80s who still advises doctoral students in India despite being retired from the University of Florida. He tells me his students are like his family. It is not surprising that students, colleagues, and people from his former village in India all revere him. The village where he grew up honored him with a beautiful grand procession and a road dedication named after him! Check out Dr. Dinesh O Shah Road Dedication Ceremony in Kapadwanj, India!

When we visited him and his family we were invited to a special vegan meal! Dr. Shah's son recently switched to vegan from vegetarian and he did it "cold turkey". I am pleased to see that he seems to be adjusting quite well! Most of them are vegan except for one grandson who is vegetarian. What is the difference between a vegan versus a vegetarian? The vegan eaters cannot consume any products from animals/insects such as cheese, milk or honey. Vegetarian eaters can consume these products. In my Teochew culture there are days during the year when some family members eat vegan food but usually only for a day, on certain religious days.

This dish is vegan but feel free to make it non-vegan by adding cooked meat and/or other seafood such as green crab roe/meat, scallops, shrimp, crayfish, lobster, octopus, and squid. You may use various assortment of sea greens if they are available for texture, presentation and taste. I add the red onion slices for color and flavors but you may certainly omit them. This recipe makes 1-2 servings.

sugar kelp salad

Sugar Kelp Salad

Ingredients:

2 1/2 oz fresh baby sugar kelp, cut into approximately 1/4 inch x 6 inch strips
A few thin slices of red onion
1 blade of scallion, green parts only, chopped
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp ginger, grated (may use juice only if you prefer less ginger flavor)
1 tsp garlic, grated
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp crushed sea salt
1 tsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp white sesame seeds

Method:

Blanch the cut kelp in boiling water for about a minute, keep the stems in for 5 minutes. Rinse in cold water. Slice the onion thinly and place the slices in cold water for about 10-15 minutes. Squeeze out the water prior to using.

In a bowl mix scallion, oil, soy, vinegar, ginger, garlic and salt until well blended. Add the blanched kelp, onion slices and seeds. Toss everything to mix well. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste.

sugar kelp salad

Pasta with Kelp and Periwinkles

If you have been following my blog you may have noticed that lately I have started to add some recipes on sea vegetables. Moving forward I will be adding new sub-sections labeled "sea vegetables" and "periwinkles". This recipe has all three ingredients--green crabs, sea vegetables, and periwinkles. It makes 2 generous servings. You may garnish the dish with freshly ground black or white peppers and cheese of your choice.

pasta with kelp and periwinkles

Pasta with Kelp and Periwinkles

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (3 1/2 oz) cooked periwinkle meat, washed and drained
8 oz penne or another pasta of your choice, cooked according to package insert
About 1 Tbsp oil (vegetable or another of your choice)
About 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
A few slices of red or white onion (more or less depending on your preference)
4 fresh baby sugar kelp, washed and cut into approximately 6 inch x 1/4 inch strips
1/2 cup half and half or coconut milk
1/2 cup, plus about 1/3 cup Simple Green Crab Stock
1 small bunch of scallions, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 1/2 tsp fish sauce (or according to your taste)

Method:

Boil the periwinkles about 5-6 minutes and drain. Once the shells are cooled to handle remove the meat and reserve. Cook the pasta according to the package's instructions, drain and set aside. Heat a pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot add oil then garlic and onion. Saute about a minute or until the garlic is slightly golden. Add kelp, periwinkle meat, half and half, and 1/2 cup of stock. Once the liquid starts to boil turn heat down to let the liquid simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the pasta, the rest of the stock (1/3 cup), scallions and season with fish sauce. Saute to coat everything and remove from heat once the pasta is heated thoroughly.

kelp, periwinkle meat, half and half, crab stock

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Stir-Fried Broccoli, Kelp, and Shrimp

Sea vegetables are versatile as a kitchen ingredient. You can add them in pretty much anything even in a stir fry. The young sugar kelp has a pleasant slight crunch when they are fresh.

stir-fried broccoli, kelp, and shrimp
Stir-Fried Broccoli, Kelp, and Shrimp

Ingredients:

12 oz prepared broccoli crowns, cut into bite size, washed and drained
1 Tbsp oil (vegetable or your choice of oil)
1 large garlic clove, smashed, chopped
10 large shrimp, peeled, butterflied, de-veined
1 to 1 1/2 oz young sugar kelp with or without stems, cut into 2-3 inches in length
1 recipe of Green Crab Stir-Fried Sauce (see recipe below)

Method:

Steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes or until they are are bright in color and the stems are just cooked, remove from heat. In a large pan or wok heat oil and garlic over high heat. Cook about 30 seconds to cook the garlic slightly. Add shrimp and saute about a  minute or until the shrimp curled and slightly cooked. Add the steamed broccoli, kelp and the green crab stir-fried sauce. Stir the contents to coat everything evenly, the kelp turn green and the shrimp are just cooked. Remove and serve hot.

Green Crab Stir-Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup green crab stock (please see Simple Green Crab Stock link)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce

Method:

Mix all ingredients together. May adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Be sure to stir the sauce prior to using.

Crab Cakes

I ate my fair share of crab cakes but many are full of fillers with minimal crab meat. When I have access to fresh crab meat I like to make simple dishes such as crab cakes. This way I get to taste mostly the sweet meat. These 4 crab cakes came from one Jonah crab. The crab was not too meaty but I was able to get 3 ounces of meat. Normally I would chill the cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to help bind them so they do not break apart during cooking. This time I had limited time and I placed the whole bowl in the freezer for about 5 minutes and they held their shape. I prefer using panko (Japanese bread crumbs) which is lighter and more airy than the Italian bread crumbs. 

I want to thank Dr. Gabriela Bradt, UNH researcher and NH Community Seafood for the Jonah crab. Also thanks to Catherine Puckett of Oyster Wench Block Island Shellfish Farm & Block Island Kelp for the fresh tender baby sugar kelp! The blanched fresh kelp has a delightful slight crunch.

crab cakes

Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

1 chicken egg yolk
About 1 1/2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 scallion, green parts only, chopped
Meat from 1 large cooked Jonah crab (or at least 3 oz from any crab meat)
1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
About 1 Tbsp of oil (vegetable or your oil of choice) for frying

Method:

Mix the yolk, mayonnaise and scallion until blended. Add the crab meat and panko to the mixture and gently mix until blended. Divide the contents into 4 parts and gently mold each part to form a ball. Place the balls in the freezer for about 15 minutes to chill. Heat a non-stick pan with oil over high heat. Once the oil is hot add the balls in the pan, avoid letting the balls touch each other. Gently press each ball down with a spatula. May turn the heat down slightly if the pan gets too hot. Fry for about 2-3 minutes or until golden. Flip the cake over and fry for another 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove and serve with your favorite sauce or salad.

Caper Sauce

Ingredients:

About 10 capers, chopped
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
About 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
Chili oil to taste, optional
Sea salt to taste

Method:

Mix capers, mayonnaise and lemon juice until well blended. Season with chili oil and salt. May use to drizzle over the crab cakes.

Blanched Baby Sugar Kelp

Ingredients:

6-8 baby sugar kelp (preferably less than 1 foot long)
Water for boiling

Method:

Wash the sugar kelp well. Gently run your fingers along the kelp to remove any roots or ocean debris. Blanch in boiling water for about 20 seconds and remove. Rinse in cold water and strain. Dab with clean towel to remove excess water if interested.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Scallop Crudo III

Today just seem to be a scallop crudo day at my house! It is impossible to be full by eating a single scallop at a time! And if I am consuming at this rate then I will definitely extend my scallop supply easily until the next scallop season! Thank you, Mike Anderson and his crew of Rimrack Fish for the fresh-off-the-boat sea scallops!

Today I also feel a bit daring to share this abstract piece with you. Don't let the pink liquid scare you. It is from a little of the freshly squeezed blood orange juice! 😀

scallop crudo III
scallop crudo III

Scallop Crudo III

Ingredients:

7 thinly sliced English cucumber circles
1 large sea scallop, tough muscle removed and discarded, thinly sliced
5 thinly sliced red onion, soaked in cold water, squeezed out the liquid prior to using
Meat from 1-2 cooked Salted Green Crabs (Ba Khia), depending on your preference
Several small pinches of dried lime, lemon, blood orange zest
Several small pinches of finely chopped fresh cilantro
Several small pinches of dried red hot chili peppers
A very small pinch of sea salt
A drizzle of freshly squeezed blood orange juice
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Method:

Use your imagination and creativity to arrange the ingredients or as per photo. Arrange the cucumber slices in a circle on a plate. Arrange the slices of scallop between the cucumber slices. Use the ends of the scallop slices for the center to add height. Arrange the onion around the center piece. Scatter the crab meat, zest, cilantro, peppers and sea salt on top. Lastly drizzle the entire plate with juice and oil.

Scallop Crudo II

Just one large scallop is enough to create a beautiful and delicious appetizer that will make your family and friends craving for more! Here is another scallop crudo. This time I added a tiny pinch of sea salt scattered over the outer edges of the scallop slices and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

If you would like to have some fresh-off-the-boat fresh sea scallops you can visit Rimrack Fish to inquire about their next scallop season! You may contact Enna Chocolate to purchase your chocolate nibs and other tasty chocolate treats from around the world!

scallop crudo II
Scallop Crudo II

Ingredients:

1 large sea scallop, tough muscle removed and discarded, sliced thinly
12 thinly sliced red onion, soaked in cold water and squeezed out the liquid prior to using
Meat from 1-2 cooked Salted Green Crab (Ba Khia), depending on your preference
A large pinch of finely pinched fresh cilantro
A large pinch of unsweetened Peruvian chocolate nibs
Several small pinches of dried lime, lemon and blood orange zest
Several small pinches of dried chili peppers
A drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
A very small pinch of sea salt

Method:

Arrange the ingredients per photo or use your own creation and imagination. Place the slices of scallop and red onion on your dish. Arrange the salted crab meat, cilantro, chocolate nibs, citric zest and chili peppers. Drizzle lemon juice and oil over everything. Scatter the sea salt on the edges away from the salted crab meat.

Scallop Crudo

I enjoy eating raw scallops especially when they are harvested by my local fisherman, Mike Anderson of Rimrack Fish. The Italians have their version of raw seafood dish known as crudo. The ones that I ate in the past seemed to have some sort of oil added. Here I did not add any but you certainly can drizzle a little of your favorite oil on top for extra flavors.

scallop crudo

Scallop Crudo

Ingredients:

1 large scallop, tough muscle removed and discard, sliced thinly against the grain
Meat and roe from 1-2 cooked Salted Green Crab (Ba Khia), depending on how much you prefer
Several thinly slices of red onion, soaked in cold water and squeezed out the liquid
A large pinch of cilantro leaves, finely chopped
A pinch of Peruvian chocolate nibs (from Enna Chocolate)
A small pinch of dried lime zest
A small pinch of dried lemon zest
A small pinch of dried blood orange zest
A small pinch of dried seaweed
A small pinch of dried chili peppers
Drizzle of freshly squeezed lime juice

Method:

Thinly slice the scallop against the grain and arrange them on a plate. Arrange the onion slices and salted green crab meat and roe on the plate. Add a large pinch of cilantro, chocolate nibs, and sprinkle on the crumbled citric zest, seaweed and chili peppers. Drizzle with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Helpful Hints:

*If you are interested in purchasing the Peruvivan chocolate nibs (unsweetened) please contact Enna Chocolate directly.
*If you are interested in purchasing scallops or squid from Rimrack Fish, please contact them directly. Unfortuately the scallop season has just ended as of this month (April 2019).

Quick Prep for Soft-Shell Green Crabs

fried soft-shells Q: Is there a quick prep for soft-shell green crabs? A: Yes! You can prepare them minimally by removing just t...