Steve loves a good deal. Our Whole Foods has a blow out fish deal from time to time. Most Sundays we stop by after the farmers market to see if we can’t score a great catch. It can be an interesting dance for the two of us when they do have a great deal though, as Steve is inclined to buy 5-6 filets of whatever the fish is, and I try to think of uses for impressive amounts of fish on the fly. I usually cannot, and we end up negotiating between one dinner’s worth and a week’s worth. In this instance Whole Foods had crabs. Meet Dave and Larry.
I have distinct memories of crabbing with my dad in North Carolina. We would canoe out onto the bay-side of the outer banks, tie off to an old pier post, and drop a chicken carcass into the water attached to a string. I loved pulling the string up very gingerly as the crabs chowed down on the chicken and were sneakily lead to the surface. It always amazed me how shameless the crabs were to just be chowing down like mad on a piece of chicken without realizing that they were 6″ from the surface, and 1″ from a net. I used to then name the crabs, be upset when they fought with one another, be upset when they clamored around in the bucket, and be horrified that my dad would boil them alive. Alex on the other hand probably remembers this, and possibly even remembers the crab boil at the antique store where the owner was cracking the backs off of the crabs alive and then filling them with beer? Needless to say I needed a cracking and cleaning refresher. Steve made a video of the crab cleaning process:
I followed an oven roasting recipe that produced a delicious hot dipping sauce (shown on the plate below, looks like chutney). To accompany the idea of a finger food meal I made parsnip fries.
- Cut parsnips into thin fry-like strips
- Brush all sides with olive oil, or put into a big bowl and toss with olive oil (fresh olive oil if at all possible)
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne
- Bake on 375 for ~15 min, turn fries, and roast at the end to crispen
I figured a sweet fry dipping sauce would probably help to offset the red pepper flakes on the crab and the cayenne on the fries. So I blended pomegranate balsamic, soy sauce, and diluted it in equal 1/3rds (shown in the green cup).
We had a fun time digging for fish flesh and the fries did help compliment the messy nature of the meal. In the end our glasses were coated in greasy finger prints. It was a spicy combination all the way around. Which went well with two frosted mugs of beer on a cold winter night.