Sunday, March 22, 2009

DimSum Sunday - Shellfishalicious!!

Java's Sunday Supper
I wanted to do something simple and rustic this week; with shellfish as the main ingredient, my first thought was shrimp. The fish section of the market had some nice mussels, so I grabbed some of those as well, and headed home. Sadly, I made a poor decision on my way - I stopped for a bottle of wine. When I arrived at home, I found my poor little mussels had smothered in their paper wrapper. A return trip to the store and a latte later, I started my supper...

This is a two pan dish - one for the pasta and one for the "sauce". There really isn't a recipe per se. It's kind of a theme and variation on cioppino, with a "whatever fits" attitude. This particular version consists simply of olive oil, three cloves of garlic, half of a shallot, two hot Italian sausages, a small can of San Marzano tomatoes and some dry white wine. Once the sausage, garlic and shallot were lightly browned in the olive oil, I added the tomatoes and white wine and brought the mixture to a simmer. I then tossed in a pound of mussels and a few torn basil leaves. When the mussels began to open, I added a half a pound of shrimp, some more torn basil leaves, and Italian parsley. This was served over linguine, drizzled with more oil, and accompanied by some crusty rosemary bread and the wine that was left. The process works well with most any shellfish (I've used clams, crab, scallops and lobster tails in the past) as well as firm white fish. Easy peasy, and delicious!

Shamu's Sunday Supper
When you grow up on the Maryland side of the Washington DC metro area, you learn quickly to appreciate the Blue Crab. I cut my snarky baby teeth on the state slogan, Maryland is for Crabs (developed soon after neighboring Virginia came up with the lame Virginia is for Lovers slogan). But Blue Crab is not readily available in my neck of the prairie so I decided to see what the Asian market had in the way of crustaceans this weekend. Having recently returned from a trip to Seattle and enjoyed a wide variety of crustaceans, I was going through a bit of a withdrawal. Imagine my happiness at seeing fresh Dungeness Crab. While my fat selection was icing down in a cooler I pointed my little car home.

My recipe this week had more to do with the weather than anything else. Spring is slowly easing winter from the prairie. Buds are starting to pop and birds are yanking twigs from my gutter to make their nests. The grill itch hit me hard. Grilled Dungeness it would be. I started out with Emeril Lagasse's recipe for grilled crab but adapted it for my own tastes. Which meant bypassing the red pepper flakes, using lime instead of lemon, cilantro instead of parsley and addition of some incredible shellfish stock I made with crab shells to the grilling butter. This recipe is incredibly simple. Grill your cooked and cleaned crab on a piece of aluminum foil swimming in the butter sauce.

This is some serious crab flavor. The grilling adds an amazing smoky depth to the sweetness of the crab. But be forewarned, this is a level 5 messy meal. Cracking crabs is never for the fussy but crabs grilled in a garlic butter sauce? Wear a shirt that's already stained and have plenty of paper towels on hand but by all means, get your Crab on.


frogponder said...

One of the joys of living in the soggy PNW. :-)
Eldest is starting up with a brand new restaurant that will only feature fresh caught seafood. Going to have to go visit. Soon.

Buzz Kill said...

I love crab but have never BBQed it before. I'll have to give it a try. And those are some big-ass crabs you have there too.

My shellfish entry is way simpler and much less sofisticated. You can fin it here

Happy Dim Sum Sunday!

Susan said...

Sounds tres delicious and I guess I won't wonder too long about the untimely demise of "the" crab(s). Wink.

Big Shamu said...

True Susan, it's best not to wonder. Let's just say I'm an old school crab eater. But you're right it was tres delicious.

eggplant said...

I have so enjoyed everyone’s offerings both last week and this week.

Buzz, I tried Fabio’s roast chicken recipe awhile back and absolutely agree that the recipes posted on Bravo’s site are missing details. I think you were right that there was no way the chicken would have been up to temp in the time mentioned in the recipe. But I really enjoyed how crispy the skin got from starting it high, then lowering the temp.

Susan, your posts have made me ache to see where you live and what’s on your table. Lovely.

I will definitely be making Java’s chicken pot pie one day, and Shamu, you really had me drooling over those crabs.

Alas, I have neither blog nor digital camera, so can I play along by relating a story?

For the last two years, friends and I have rented a little cabin at a state park to celebrate my February birthday and do our best to ignore the winter chill by having an indoor beach party. We turn up the heat, don Hawaiian shirts and sandals, decorate in a tropical theme, and eat seafood. This year I made “Clam Bake in a Pot,” which included shrimp, clams, crab, kielbasa, andouille, onions, red potatoes, corn that one of my friends had fresh frozen last summer, and the best seafood stock I’ve ever made (thanks to me finally screwing up my nerve to ask a local fishmonger if he had any trimmings on hand – he gave them to me for free). Oh, and rouille, which is a fancy name for a mayonnaise-y sauce – I made mine with garlic, roasted red peppers, lemon, chipotle chili powder , rosemary and thyme. Swirling that stuff into the brothy seafood stew was just the right final touch. With sides of sourdough garlic cheese bread and a simple salad of fresh greens from a nearby organic farm, we ate ourselves silly and forgot all about the outdoor chill. Until we ventured out the following morning to depart, taking a group photo of the four of us and the plastic pink flamingos we had planted in the snow.

Happy spring to all, and know that this reader can’t wait to see what you post next for Dim Sum Sunday.


Buzz Kill said...

Big Shamu

You added more to your posting than when I first viewed it. The mussels and shrimp look great. Is that some sausage I see in the photo? And I want to make rosemary bread in my bread maker. I just keep forgeting about it.


I started my blog with this challenge in mind. It's not hard at all. And as you can see from my photos, I'm the worse photographer in the world. I really enjoyed your story and pictures would have been a great compliment to it. Give blogging a try.

And to all, you're lightyears ahead of me in cooking skills and I'm learning stuff. This Dim Sum Sunday was a great idea.

Big Shamu said...

Actually Buzz, the first part if Java's dish and mine is the crab. Sorry for the confusion.

Buzz Kill said...

I was confused. I missed the supper captions the 1st time around. Props to Java for the shrimp and mussels. I love mussels in a red sauce (like a fra diavolo) with Italian Bread but I would like to make the rosemary bread someday.

The Java Junkie said...

Buzz, I cheated and bought mine at Whole Foods, but I'll my James Beard - I think I remember a rosemary bread recipe...

LaDivaCucina said...

I'm definitely having Australian seafood withdrawals....king prawns, oysters, mussels....I didn't even get a chance to eat one Singapore Chile crab! DRAT! All looks SO GOOD!