Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Crab For Christmas

"You can eat turkey anytime," James reasoned. He didn't feel like ham. He's never really been crazy about prime rib (I'm the one that loves it and I always eat way to much since he only tastes). 
"Crab," he said. "Let's have crab."
The holidays fall right in the middle of dungeness crab season and here close to the very waters the boats fish we couldn't think of a better holiday treat. 
"What about Christmas eve?" I said. 
"Christmas Day?"
We started the holiday off with my usual roasted crab recipe. I leave the cracked cleaned crabs to marinate in a mixture of fennel seeds, chili flakes, parsley, S&P, and olive oil for a couple hours and then roast them for about half an hour at 400º.  Super easy and messy fun to eat.
"Salad? Potatoes? Vegetables?" I offered.
"I love potatoes but anything else on the table is space I can't use for crabs. James explained his theory on crab eating. "If I eat potatoes I'll eat less crab. If I eat cauliflower I'll eat less crab." Reasonable, I thought. Just crabs . . . and a little bread to soak up the zesty marinade.
 Christmas morning brought an unexpected crabortunity. I shelled the leftovers from the eve's crab dinner and, after a quick sauté in butter, softly scrambled eggs into the warm crab meat. On the side, fluffy biscuits whipped up from the beautiful self rising White Lily flour I carried home on the plane from Florida for just such an occasion.
 For Christmas dinner -- probably not typical -- spaghetti with crab. Maybe the best spaghetti dish I have ever made. I started with olive oil warmed in a pan and added plenty of chopped garlic, with a sprinkling of fennel seeds and chili peppers. After a minute or so I added in my secret ingredient, 2-3 TB of the yellowy delicious fat I saved while cleaning the crabs. I let the fat dissolve in the warm oil and added in about a pound of crab meat, 1/4 cup of chopped parsley and the juice of one big lemon. I tossed the drained pasta into the sauce with 1/3 cup pasta cooking water, gave everything a good toss and served James' Christmas dinner -- even though some would consider it blasphemy -- with a light sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
"I'm totally crabbed,: James said contentedly. "I'm walking sideways."

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