Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Maryland is for Crabs

As some of you may have noticed, I was absent last week. It was for a good cause, I assure you. I was celebrating my roots. I was in the bosom of my family, bringing the hammer down on a righteous pile of Maryland's finest hard shell blue crabs.

Crabs

I was in crab heaven. I can't remember the last time I got high from inhaling copious amounts of Old Bay but don't you know, eating crabs is like riding a bike. Once you learn the rhythm and the tricks, you never forget. Your hands know what to do without even thinking. I'm betting I could be in a coma and if someone put a pile of steamed hard shells on my hospital bed, my hands would pick up a knife and start popping off legs.
I worry about the Chesapeake Bay and the crab population. Every spring I ask my mother for the crab forecast. Will it be a good year, a rebound year or will it be another depressing year as the mighty blue crab follow the oysters into the lore of yesteryear, where old timers speak of both as never ending. Even I can remember there being four sizes of crabs available in the crabhouses, small, medium, large and jumbo and you didn't need to run down to the payday loan with your car title to pay for two dozen jumbo. Those days are long gone.

crab pile

As are the days when I could easily eat a dozen crabs in one sitting. Still the picking was good and the meat was sweet. There were even enough left over to bring home some lump meat. Couldn't let that go to waste. But what to make with my precious half pound of meat.

crab stack 2

Crabcakes were a given but I have to thank Patrick O'Connell for idea of using fried green tomatoes as the "bread" of my crabcake sandwich. Frankly I'm pissed for not thinking this up myself. That particular recipe is in his cookbook, Patrick O'Connell's Refined American Cuisine. There you'll find a beautiful refined dish with pickled okra, a sweet corn relish with a tomato vinaigrette. Here, instead, you'll find my barbarian's offering of a crabcake slider cradled in the tangy, crunchy grasp of panko green fried tomatoes.

crab stack 1

This was almost a photo optional post because fried green tomatoes are best right out the fry pan and crabcakes? Let's just say I'm like Daffy Duck in Ali Baba Bunny....

...MINE, MINE, ALL MINE!!!!

8 comments:

froggy said...

Clear over on the Oregon Coast the parents and Aunts and Uncles used to stage treasure hunts on the beach. We usually found new beach pails and shovels, real glass floats from Japan and, one year, a bunch of crabs in their shells. We didn't see the treasure in that... foolish children.

MakingSpace said...

This post made me so happy, and I wasn't even there eating the crab cakes! Beautiful!!! Congrats on your sliders too, and I love the panko on the tomatoes. Beautiful photos, beautiful (if somewhat sad) story of their fate...

And yes, it was all yours!!!

Dani said...

Our beloved stone crab is going the way of your blue crab.

Big Shamu said...

Now is stone crab the one where they harvest the claws and throw the live crab back?

Dani said...

Yeppers. And they are TASTY!

Buzz Kill said...

I started using panko on my tomatoes last year instead of the traditional italian bread crumbs and it makes such a difference. I also make bacon with the tomatoes but I like the idea of the crab slider. They look nice.

Syd said...

That "sandwich" is brilliant!!

So glad you enjoyed some of your beloved crabs. I'm heading to the coast in the morning for a weekend of crabbing and fishing. [fingers crossed]

Big Shamu said...

Syd is was luscious eating. Hope you have a Phat Crab weekend.