Sunday, October 10, 2010

Precious Cargo

I love traveling. Meeting new people, eating at restaurants that can only be found in the city I'm visiting. But most of all I love getting things I can't get at home. Like say for instance....

jumbo crabby

Thank you, Whole Foods Atlanta, for having Jumbo Lump Crab nestled deep in a bed of ice, just waiting for my greedy little hands to snatch it up and practically RUN to the checkout line. Yes, it's true, it wasn't Chesapeake Bay crab but it was still blue crab and even if it was from Florida it wasn't the horrible crap that sits behind the seafood counters in Kansas City. Some damn day someone will have to explain to me how it's easier to get international crabmeat (Thailand, India) in the Midwest than it is to get real crab from the East Coast. But I digress.

The pound of jumbo lump rode the highways and byways to finally land in my refrigerator at home and it's eventual destiny as crabcakes. However crab wasn't the only precious food cargo I came home with. No, I got to meet some real live free range chickens, scratching and pecking in the good Georgia dirt.

The Girlz

You know what happens from all that scratching and grub consumption?

Chickory eggs

Gorgeous fresh eggs. How could I combine the two into one dish that would make stars of both? An omelet seems too pedestrian. Crab egg foo yung briefly skittered into the picture but let's face it, it's just a Chinese American omelet. I finally decided on a Crab Benedict.

crab benny

Eggs Benedict is one of those rare dishes I eat out more than make for myself. Whipping up hollandaise for one seems excessive. However since I had already made the crabcakes, poaching some eggs and making hollandaise wouldn't be that much of a stretch. I pulled out my trusty Cook's Illustrated Best Recipes and started the hollandaise thrown down.

I like the way they poach the eggs (break egg into cup, pour egg from cup into barely simmering vinegar water, immediately cover and remove from heat and allow egg to cook for 5 minutes), mine came out perfectly cooked. The hollandaise, while smooth, was bland. Even after a liberal addition of Old Bay. And instead of using an english muffin I whipped up some cornbread as my base.

crab benny 2

Let me tell you, while the hollandaise was lacking, the fresh eggs and jumbo crabmeat more than made the difference in this exquisite dish. Thank you Chickory for the eggs and the opportunity to bring this little part of your world home to Kansas City. If you'd like to see more of the The Girlz and their very theatrical life, check out this video.


Making Space said...

Oh yeah. Drooling.

Aunty Belle said...

mercy, I is --no kiddin'--salivatin'. Them photos is outstandin'.

Youse prolly answerd this, but what kind of camera does ya use?

Shmay, go git yoreself a facy portfolio an take yore photos around-- I think ya could snag a job shootin' food fer mags/ restaurants, etc.

Dani said...

That picture is fantastic Shamy! Glad the precious cargo made it all the way home.

Big Shamu said...

Sorry, MS, will send drool bib.

Aunty, my old trusty Nikon D100 and an amazing Nikkor macro lens.

Dani, I don't know if you are a crab fan but with your eggs it could be just as spectacular.

Buzz Kill said...

Great pictures. I have never heard of Crab Benedict. I wonder if an aioli sauce would have worked better?

When I opened your post, I only had my browser window at half size and saw the top quarter of the egg picture. I thought "where was Shamu going with this?" Bwahahaha

chickory said...

i love how you took something kind of plain - eggs - and were able to focus on the texture of the shell and the fact that sometimes Peggy Jean's come out speckled. The dish looks, dishy. as you know im not a big Kanigirl, but i am a big fan of your wok. what aunty said is so true -and as spock would say to Jim: "this is your best first destiny"

intuitive eggplant said...

Chickie's right - your eye manages to take something as simple as the shell of an egg and find extraordinary individuality and beauty in it. Glad you enjoyed your road trip and got your precious cargo safely home. Your Crab Benedict looks magnificent!

moi said...

"Whipping up hollandaise for one seems excessive."

Um. *Whistles and looks around.*

So. I'm Julia Child all the way when it comes to Hollandaise, but I like Buzz's idea of aioli, too.

intuitive eggplant said...

Thanks, Shamy, for letting me link to your Kevin Gillespie Woodfire Grill post on ATC (

Lots of shilling goin' on amongst whatever most of these chefs can make happen. Nice to get an honest diner's opinion to balance things out :)

Free said...

As a crabber in Fla I can tell you that the reason you see more imported crab meat is that it's much cheaper to produce over there and Americans in general will condem our own commercial fishermen while buying from and supporting those from other countrys,including some who hate us. We have plenty of blue crabs right now but I havn't been able to sell one in 3 weeks because the crab picking plants have closed everywhere.

Big Shamu said...

Well Free, here's one hard headed cook who DOES NOT buy that crap from overseas. In no way shape or form does it compare in taste or texture to the blue crab here in the states. However there is good news and that is that blue crab is rebounding from historic low catches. The yang to that ying is that processing plants that help sustain crabbers when the market for live crab drops have died off from 51 plants in 1990 to a low of 26 in 2008. Will more plants be built as crab levels rise? Unknown since the rebound is hopefully just beginning.