Seafood

Crab Gravy with Spaghetti

Crab gravy, crab sauce, crabs and spaghetti, crabs and macaroni…..no matter what you call it, we can all agree, it’s delicious.

I had a craving to make this today and my wonderful husband happily went to the market this morning to find me crabs. I was so happy he came home with them because we don’t have a seafood place close by so we had to hope the Italian market had them in today.

This isn’t something I make often. In fact, this is only the second time in my 25 years of cooking that I have. It’s probably more like 30 years, but who’s counting. I figured I’d make it like I make my meat sauce, so it was a kind of make-it-up-as-I-go type of recipe. I will try to be as accurate as possible with the ingredients and process.

Here we go.

Ingredients:

  • 6 blue crabs, uncooked
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 8oz can of tomato paste
  • white wine
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped or chiffonade
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb of spaghetti or long pasta of your choice

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In a large, heavy pot, heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil and add 3 cloves of minced garlic and, if you wish, some red pepper flakes. We like it spicy. Get that going a bit and be careful to not burn the garlic. Once fragrant, add about half of the crabs until they turn red, flip and cook until red on the other side. Season with some salt while they cook. Remove from the pot and add the remainder. When they are cooked, remove and set aside Do not let anyone eat them! They WILL try.

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If your garlic burned, like mine did, toss it. Burnt garlic will ruin your sauce. Begin with some fresh oil and heat it up. Add your chopped onion, the remaining minced garlic, more red pepper flakes and begin to saute until soft. Add some salt while you saute. I like to salt every layer of my dishes because salt makes everything better. Once soft, add the can of tomato paste and mix in.

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Add about 1/4 cup of the wine to the tomato paste and stir well. Cook down for about 5 minutes.

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To the tomato paste mixture, carefully pour in the two cans of crushed tomatoes. You will want to add some water to thin it out so fill each can about a quarter of the way full, stir to combine leftover tomatoes and pour into the pot. Add about another 1/4 cup of wine, season with salt and black pepper and add the basil. Stir and bring to a boil for about three minutes. Lower heat to simmering and carefully return the cooked crabs to the pot. Cover, lid slightly ajar, and cook, stirring frequently, for about two hours. If you notice the sauce is becoming too thick, add more water and fully cover with the lid until it thins out a bit. You don’t want it like ketchup but you don’t want it like soup either.

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When the gravy/sauce is almost done cooking, you will want to cook your pasta according to package directions. Do not forget to salt your pasta water! There is nothing worse than unsalted, bland pasta to ruin all of your efforts. ūüôā

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Remove crabs from the pot and put on a plate. Drain pasta and place into a bowl and cover generously, or not so generously, with the sauce.

Serve, add some grated Locatelli cheese if you want…who cares what anyone says, and enjoy!

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Indian Shrimp Curry

  • 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1¬Ĺ teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon chili powder¬†
  • 1/8¬†teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup coconut milk (if it looks like lard, stir it up, the milk is down below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound large, uncooked shrimp peeled & deveined
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika, chili powder and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for a minute.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and salt and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 8 minutes.

While the curry simmers, cook rice. Add the shrimp and cilantro to the curry, cover with a lid, and simmer for another 4 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice.

Serve on a bed of rice.

Recipe adapted from MediterrAsian.com


Mussels in White Wine and Garlic Sauce

The first time I made this dish, I put so much wine, that’s all it tasted like. So, I got my husband on board to help me and we managed to get it pretty much right. It’s not an exact science, like all recipes like this. It’s more of what you like. How much garlic, to or¬†to not¬†add red pepper flakes. That kind of thing. Adjust to your preference.

Ingredients:

  • 1 2lb bag farm-raised mussels
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup of wine, approximately

1. First thing you need to do is clean the mussels. The mussels I buy are already de-bearded, but I do go through them and make sure there is no residual beard lingering anywhere. If there is, take a small paring knife and and scrape it off. Rinse several times and scrub them thoroughly. Discard any that are open. Place in a bowl with ice and refrigerate until you are ready to put them in the pan.

2. Heat a large pan and add the olive oil and butter. When that is hot, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until a light golden brown.

3. Add the wine. Pouring slowly and carefully. Add parsley flakes.

4. Add the mussels, including the ice. Cover the pan and let simmer until they all open. This takes about five minutes or so. Just keep checking. As soon as they are open, you want to get them off of the heat. Nothing worse than a chewy mussel.

5. Serve with spaghetti or linguine and, most importantly, a very large loaf of bread for sopping up all of that incredibly delicious sauce. It’s the best part.


Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce (Spaghetti con Vongole)

This is one of my daughter’s favorite meals. “Mom. Are we having clams and spaghetti tonight?” I hear it all the time. She really does love it and ate A LOT of it in Italy. And man, was it good there. Something about their incredible olive oil. Totally changes the taste of the entire dish. So, always buy the best olive oil you can afford. It is worth it.

You can take this up a notch and use fresh clams of course. I do prefer the minced clams though. I’m not a big fan of large clams, and it’s just so much easier. Again, buy a good quality canned clam and juice.

  • 1 pound of spaghetti or linguine
  • 2 jars of Cento clam juice
  • 1 can of Cento minced clams, with their juice
  • 1/4 cup of white wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced fine
  • 1 teaspoon, or to taste, of hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of minced, dried parsley
  • pinch of salt plus more to salt the water for cooking the pasta
  • a few grindings of black pepper

Fill a large pot with water. Turn heat to high. When reaches boiling point, salt liberally and add pasta. Cook to al dente.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil and pasta to cook, get a small saucepan and heat the olive oil and butter.

Add the garlic, red pepper and parsley. Cook to light golden. Do not burn the garlic. I cannot stress that enough. It will ruin the dish.

Lower the heat, add the clams with their juice, the clam juice, and wine. Turn heat up a bit to bring to a constant simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Once pasta is done, drain and place in a serving bowl. Pour clam sauce over top and serve immediately.


Baked Maryland-Style Crabcakes

I was so in the mood for crabcakes today.¬† I came across this recipe and after making it, have made some minor adjustments.¬† They were good, considering they weren’t fried.¬† Of course, I’m sure you could fry them if you wish.¬† The Old Bay gave a nice Maryland-style flavor to them and it was mostly crab, not all filler.

  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp.¬† dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cholesterol free egg product (like Egg Beaters)
  • 1 lb. lump crab meat

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease a baking sheet.

Combine bread crumbs, baking powder, parsley, mustard powder, pepper, salt and seafood seasoning; set aside.

Stir together mayonnaise, butter, Worcestershire, and egg product until smooth.

Note: I used 3/4 of a cup and found it was a little watery. So I added more breadcrumbs.¬† Next time I’d lower the liquid to 1/2 cup and add more if needed.

Fold in crab meat, then fold in bread crumb mixture until well blended.

Shape mixture into 8 crab cakes, about 3/4 inch thick, and place onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes, then turn the crab cakes over, and bake an additional 10 minutes, until nicely browned.


Jerk Fish Sandwiches with Remoulade Sauce

Ya, mon! This is a good fish sandwich.  The fish is spicy and the remoulade sauce kicks it up just a notch above a regular tartar sauce.  The sweet, grilled pineapple gives it a nice freshness and crunch.

And if you’re afraid of fish, you should stop being so.¬† Tilapia is a very mild fish.¬† Fish should never taste fishy. If it does, it’s not good. Throw it away.

Remoulade

  • 1/4 mayo
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp. diced hot pepper (optional)
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. pickle relish
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and Tabasco sauce to taste

For the sandwich

  • 2 Tbsp. Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 fresh fish fillets, such as tilapia or flounder (I use tilapia)
  • 1 long French baguette, cut in four sections on an angle and cut open
  • lettuce leaves
  • 8 pineapple rings (1/4″ thick)

In a bowl, mix ingredients for the remoulade and refrigerate.

Stir together jerk seasoning, Worcestershire and oil. Brush fish on both sides with mixture and set on non-stick sprayed aluminum foil or place in a fish cage for the grill.

Place on grill over medium-high heat.  Have one side of the grill set on low heat.

Grill until firm, about 8 – 10 minutes. Meanwhile, quickly grill pineapple slices just to make marks. Place baguettes, cut side down on grill for about 1 – 2 minutes.

Arrange sandwiches with lettuce, pineapple, fish and top with remoulade.