Sunday, September 16, 2018

Temporarily Off Duty

Dear Readers,

Due to an auto accident, I am unable to trap, cook or write about green crabs. In the meantime I will work hard to get better, and I look forward to sharing more green crab stories with you in the future.

Best regards,
Thanh Thai
(Remember to always please wear a seatbelt when in a car!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Green Crab Sandwich

Removing meat from the green crabs is a feasible task but it is definitely not a job for everyone. Please check out my link on How to Remove the Meat and Roe from a Cooked Crab. Recently Dr. Gabriela Bradt graciously gave me nearly 300 crabs including about 40 large crabs from her lab and traps. Somehow I had a strange notion that she was delighted (if that is even the right word) that I was willing to haul her crabs away! Within 24 hours I prepared most of them and stored them in the freezer in bags for future use. For some of the larger ones I removed the meat to make 2 open-faced sandwiches. 

When we first immigrated to the United States in 1980 my mother came up with this butter sauce. I think it was my mother's way of helping our family become acclimated to the American ways of life, food and culture. I honestly believe that just about everything tastes better with fish sauce! Try it for yourself, instead of salt just add fish sauce. In my family we use this delicious sauce (sometimes with moderation and sometimes not) to dip or drizzle over our lobsters, crabs, steamers and other seafood. When my mother, brothers and I make this we never measure the ingredients. For convenience, we put all the ingredients together in a small bowl and microwave about 20-30 seconds or until the butter melts.

green crab sandwich

Green Crab Sandwich

Ingredients:

1 hamburger bun, toasted
About 2-3 oz of freshly picked green crab meat and roe
My Mother's Butter Sauce (see recipe below)
Flowers from Thai basil and shiso plants, garnish (optional)

Method:

Toast the bun. Divide the crab meat and roe, and add over each half of the bun. Drizzle with the butter sauce and garnish with flowers.

my mother's butter sauce
  
My Mother's Butter Sauce (makes about 1/4 cup)

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp salted or unsalted butter
1/2 tsp good fish sauce (nước mắm)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp chopped scallions (preferably green parts)

Method 1:

May put everything together in a bowl and microwave for about 20-30 seconds or until the butter has melted. Stir to blend.

Method 2:

In a small sauce pan add butter, fish sauce, sugar and scallions. Cook until the butter has melted.

Helpful Hints:

*You may adjust the sauce according to your taste. You may add more scallions if you prefer more greens. Depending on the power of your microwave you may start low at 10-15 seconds and work up to melt your butter.

Grilled Oysters

The other day our friends/neighbors Jim and Karen invited a few of us over to their house for a cookout on their deck. Luckily I was able to purchase a bag of fresh oysters from my local market. I made shooters on the half shell (minus the crab meat) with most of them, adding just a little cocktail sauce, a squeeze of lime, a dash of hot sauce and vodka. Everyone seemed to really enjoyed them. Our friend/neighbor Carlos gave me a nice compliment when he tells me they tasted as good as in any high-end restaurants. My husband tells me they tasted good, even better and easier to eat than the shooters in a glass that I made a few posts earlier. He thinks everything blended well when they are on the half shell. A few of them did not have any of their natural liquid in them so I added olive oil, minced onion and vodka and grilled them. In Vietnam people often grill (using charcoal) shellfish by adding chopped scallion or green onion and oil.

This time I am inspired to grill some oysters to use up some of my beautiful coral color green crab roe. I was able to gather 3 bags of fresh oysters from my local market. We invited our friends/neighbors Inge and Marshall over for a little last minute grill on our shady deck despite 90+ F outside. We ate most of the oysters fresh with a little lime juice and I saved the rest to experiment on the grill. On a few of the grilled ones I added fresh hot chili peppers for a little kick since Marshall and I like spicy food. The secret to spicy foods is that it helps you sweat and cool you down! The garlic, shallots and chili peppers came from my parents' garden. Inge brought over a few different opened bottles of chilled white wine and I chose the Chardonnay to drizzle over the oysters. You may use whichever type of alcohol you prefer or have at home. Here is the recipe.

these oysters are prepared and ready to place on the grill
grilling oysters
Grilled Oysters

Ingredients:

8 oysters with liquid
1 blade of fresh scallion (green parts only), chopped or cut with scissors
1 garlic clove, grated or smashed and minced
1/2 medium sized shallot, minced
Cooked green crab roe (use as much or as little as you prefer or have)
Hot chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
About 1 Tbsp oil (I prefer either canola or olive)
About 3 Tbsp white wine (or another type of alcohol such as sake, rum, tequila or vodka)

Method:

Shuck the oysters and remove/discard any shell bits. Add a little chopped scallion, garlic and shallot. Add some of the crab roe. May add a little chili pepper if interested. Drizzle with a little oil and white wine (about 1 teaspoon of wine for each oyster). Grill until they are cooked to your preference. Use tongs to carefully remove the oysters from the grill.

oysters on the half shell with a squeeze of lime
(aka naked oysters)

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Oyster on the Half Shell

After making the Oyster and Crab Shooter I realized that I cannot gulp it down since the vodka is too strong for me. I have to trust my husband's opinion when he tells me they are tasty. While making oyster on the half shell I came up with the idea to make something similar but instead of vodka I used sake, a more mild alcohol

Anyone can shuck oysters. Initially you may be slow but over time you will improve and gain speed. I know this because I am probably the slowest shucker out there. In the last few weeks after shucking several dozen I noticed that my skills have improved greatly. I purchased these beautiful oysters at my local market. They came from Duxbury, Massachusetts.

If you are interested in learning more about the European green crabs you may find marine ecologist Dr. Emily Grason's talk educational and helpful. She gave an excellent webinar on how they impact our environment negatively and also how to properly identify them. Please check out this link, First Detector Training Webinar: Capturing invasive European green crab at the earliest stages of invasion

oyster on the half shell
oyster on the half shell

Oyster on the Half Shell

Ingredients:

Fresh oysters, washed well
Cocktail sauce (commercial or home-made)
Sriracha sauce
Green crab meat and roe (see How to Remove the Meat and Roe From a Cooked Crab link)
Sake (whichever brand you prefer to drink)

Method:

Shuck the oysters, avoid spilling the juice. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of cocktail sauce and 1-2 drops of Sriracha sauce on each oyster. Add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of crab meat (and roe if you have any) on top and drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of sake over each oyster.

my husband prefers a little squeeze of lime on top

Green Crab Ice Cream

The best part about making my own ice cream is that I can control the amount of sugar that goes in it and I can add just about anything that...