Monday, April 26, 2010

At the market...


West Coast morels are in! And what lookers they are!

Quebec morels are supposedly a week or two away from popping up: one has been spotted yesterday by an experienced forager. How exciting... What with New Brunswick lobster season opening this week, and the Quebec one to follow in a week or two... Lobster with morels, oh heaven!

In the meantime, there is still a week or two left for Atlantic snow crabs. 


Quotas for snow crab were lowered this year, so prices are not where one's wallet would like. However, the crabs are so flavourful, a little goes a long way. If you feel up to it, cooking your own crab will ensure it is done to your liking, but most fish mongers and supermarkets will have cooked crabs for sale. I've never actually cooked snow crabs myself as I do not own a pot big enough to fit one, so if you do decide to attempt it, ask your fish monger for advice.

Snow crab has the most tender flesh and is absolutely succulent. You can go all fancy and make a complex dish with it, but simple really is best: a pile of legs and some lemony mayonnaise, or a nice little salad. Like most shellfish, snow crab is beautiful with peas and tomatoes, both of which are not exactly in season right now up where I live... Frozen, petite peas are perfect for this recipe, and greenhouse cherry tomatoes are just sweet enough to complement the crab. I happened to have a jar of roasted cherry tomatoes, so I used those. I chose to drizzle mayonnaise around the crab, so that one could gauge the amount of mayo in each biteful. It also makes for a pretty dish with little effort.

Crab Salad
 For one, as a starter

3 medium snow crab legs
3 Tbs frozen peas -petite or fancy sized are sweetest
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered, or a heaping spoonful of roasted tomatoes
a few sprigs of chives, chopped

Shell crab legs: snow crabs have soft shells, but they do require some tools for cracking. Scissors or a sharp knife are best, as nut crackers merely crush the legs. Cut lengthwise and pry open to scrape out the flesh.
Briefly boil the peas to cook through, they should take about 2 minutes. Drain, and cool under running water or in an ice bath.
Mix all other ingredients with the crab meat.
Taste for seasoning. This salad should not need any salt, as the crab will be salty enough, however you might want to add pepper.
Make a neat, little pile in the centre of a plate, and drizzle with roasted pepper mayonnaise. ( You can use a ring mould to shape a tower, or even a shot glass.)


Roasted Pepper Mayonnaise
Yields ½ cup, enough for 4 and some leftover

¼ c mayonnaise
(homemade or from a jar)
½ roasted pepper

Blend together until smooth.

You can adapt this recipe to any shellfish, tweaking it a bit as the season changes: lobster, peas and sautéed morels; northern shrimps, cherry tomatoes, scallions... The possibilities are endless!

Bon app'!

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