Monday, June 11, 2018

Green Crab Golden Pate

The green crab population is exploding in New England, all the way up to coastal Canada. I believe this is not publicly known. If people knew that they could be easily trapped or harvested and eaten, then I am convinced it will certainly make a dent in their population. Only recently I have learned about them. I am sure there are people like me who have an interest and find great pleasure in feasting on pests or invasive species--does not matter if they walk, hop, crawl, slither, swim, jump or fly!

In June 2016 I started to harvest, cook and eat these green crabs. Sadly for me my harvests were few. I often did not venture out specifically to search for them. I generally go out at low tide along the coast (of New Hampshire) to harvest periwinkles and sea vegetables (or seaweed). When I turn over rocks or seaweed I would be lucky to find a few small ones to take home. The ones I found so far had relatively soft shells so I was able to fry up the entire crabs and eat them whole. The first time I found 3 crabs I made crispy fried green crabs on a bed of simple relish. It was tasty but the meal was too small--not enough to feed even a small child.
 

I recently attended a 2-day "Green Crab Working Summit 2018" held in Portland, Maine as a consumer. The conference was excellent--full of practical information and education. I did not think I would blog again but the summit was motivating and inspiring--made me realize that I should definitely eat more green crabs and promote others to eat them too! As I plan to eat and cook them regularly I would like to put my ideas and recipes in writing--to personally document my food. One of my brothers asked me how many recipes can I come up with for green crabs? I honestly do not know the answer but what I know is that the more crabs that are accessible to me the more cooking, creating and eating I will do in my kitchen!

I met many wonderful people at the summit including Jamie Bassett, owner of Green Crab Nation (volume supplier of green crab) who gave me a large bag of boiled female green crabs and a pound bag of already picked green crab roe. I must say I was thrilled and grateful to receive them. Jamie warned me that the bag of roe was previously frozen and thawed so it needed to be eaten within a day. I rushed home and immediately made this pate with the roe. The ingredients used in this recipe are similar to the monkfish liver pate that I made a few years ago. Initially I used 1/3 cup of heavy cream but then added a total of 3/4 cup to this pate to make it more moist. The final result is tasty, not as briny as the monkfish liver pate. I called this "golden" for the color and because the roe is as precious as gold. If you have to hand pick the roe from these 2-3 inch crabs yourself you will quickly understand how labor intensive it can be.

We definitely need to work together, and spread the word to the public that eating green crabs is a delicious and nutritious way to help save our coast, including our local soft-shell bivalves, crustaceans, eelgrass and salt marshes.

I encourage you to eat more green crabs!



Green Crab Golden Pâté (makes about 3 cups)

Ingredients:

1 beef marrow bone (about 15 oz) or about 1/3 cup partially cooked marrow
1 Tbsp canola oil (may use another vegetable oil of your choice)
1 shallot, finely minced (about 1/3 cup)
4 garlic cloves, grated (about 1 Tbsp)
About 1/2 thumb sized fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tsp)
2 green onions, green parts only, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 lb cooked green crab roe, removed and discarded any non-roe parts
2 Tbsp sake
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp fish sauce (nước mắm)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp freshly roasted and ground white pepper

Method:

Place the beef bone marrow in a small pot, add enough water to just submerge the bone. Boil for about 5-7 minutes (depending on the size of the bone) or until the marrow can easily be removed from the bone. Use a chopstick to poke the marrow, if it goes through then you will have no trouble removing it. Remove the marrow once it is cool enough to handle and set aside.

If you are using whole white peppercorns, roast them in a pan over medium high heat for about a minute to enhance the flavor. Grind or crush the peppercorns once cooled and set aside. I have a small coffee grinder that I use strictly for herbs and spices.

In a medium-sized pan heat oil and marrow in medium-high heat. Saute shallot about a minute or until it is soft. Add garlic, ginger, and green onions and saute about a minute, avoid burning the garlic. Add roe, wine, and heavy cream. Adjust heat as needed during cooking. Cook for about 5 minutes to cook off the wine and to reduce some of the liquid. Season with fish sauce, sugar and ground pepper and cook for about another minute. Once the contents cool slightly pour everything into a food processor and pulse 4-5 times. May use the pate immediately, seal and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in a sealed container in a freezer for up to a month.

How to use this Green Crab Golden Pâté

There are many ways to use this Green Crab Golden Pâté--let your imagination and hunger guide you. I post a few photos to show that you can make simple delicious appetizers or snacks with just the spread of the pate or you can use it as a base or part of a base. For the appetizers (pictured below) I use ingredients that I have available in my kitchen and deck--smoked salmon, tomatoes, marinated anchovies in oil, pickled Chinese onions, capers, grated lime zests, dill, mint, chives and chive flowers.

1 pound of already picked green crab roe
ingredients for making green crab golden pâté
pick out and discard the non-crab roe parts
whenever you see them during cooking
saute the pâté
cook off the wine and reduce some of the liquid
give a few pulses in a food processor to blend
be sure to remove all the delicious pâté








Addendum:
After making this pâté I realized a pound of roe is quite unrealistic to obtain for most people. The recipe below has been adjusted to about 4 ounce of green crab roe.

Green Crab Golden Pâté (makes about 3/4 cup)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp beef marrow
1 tsp oil
1  Tbsp minced shallot or onion
2 Tbsp finely chopped green parts of scallion
1 tsp grated fresh garlic
1/4 tsp grated fresh ginger
4 oz cooked green crab roe, removed and discarded any non-roe parts
1 tsp sake (may also use drinking white wine or sherry)
2 Tbsp milk (may also use heavy cream, half and half)
1 tsp fish sauce (nước mắm)--preferably the Three Crabs brand or another good fish sauce brand)
A pinch of sugar
A pinch of ground white pepper

Method:

Place the beef bone marrow in a small pot, add enough water to just submerge the bone. Boil for about 5-7 minutes (depending on the size of the bone) or until the marrow can easily be removed from the bone. Use a chopstick to poke the marrow, if it goes through then you will have no trouble removing it. Remove the marrow once it is cool enough to handle and set aside.

If you are using whole white peppercorns, roast them in a pan over medium high heat for about a minute to enhance the flavor. Grind or crush the peppercorns once cooled and set aside. I have a small coffee grinder that I use strictly for herbs and spices.

In a medium-sized pan heat marrow and oil over medium-high heat. Saute shallot or onion, green scallions, garlic, and ginger about a minute or until the shallot or onion is soft, avoid burning the garlic. Add roe, wine, and milk. Adjust heat as needed during cooking. Season with fish sauce, sugar and ground pepper. Cook for about 4-5 minutes to cook off the wine and to reduce some of the liquid. Once the contents cool slightly pour everything into a food processor and pulse 4-5 times. May use the pate immediately, seal and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in a sealed container in a freezer for up to a month.

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