Softshell Crab Po’ Boys

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Well, the first thing I must acknowledge is my unfortunate absence from our lovely blog. A weekend in LA in celebration of a certain contributor was a great reminder (not that I needed one) of all the super awesome ladies in my life and how much I love staying connected!

Second acknowledgement, and this is a tough one as I would really like to leave you all in the dark about it, is that this isn’t exactly… technically… really… my recipe. It is in fact a Chris invention for which I must give him full credit. (You can all start drooling now.) It made an oh-so-lovely spring time date night dinner and is one we’ll definitely be revisiting! (Hopefully soon!)

I must admit I was a little intimidated by the aioli at first, but Chris made it look super easy and the NYT subsequently published an article about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/dining/easy-homemade-mayonnaise.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=aioli&st=nyt. Apparently the trick is a bit of water.

Without further a do, I bring you the soft shell crab po’ boy:

Ingredients:

2 softshell crabs

A bunch of flour

Paprika (meh, a teaspoon or two)

Salt + pepper

Butter

1 egg yolk

1 cup olive oil

clove garlic

Lime wedges (optional)

For the crab: When you buy it ask the fish monger to clean to crabs. Mix the flour together with the paprika, salt and pepper on a plate. Heat the butter until its melted in a skillet. Coat the crab all over with the flour mixture – you can just put it right in, no egg or anything else necessary. Fry the crabs on both sides for ~2.5 minutes.

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For the aioli: Pound the garlic with a pinch of salt using a mortar and pestle. Whisk the egg yolk with a 1/2 tsp water in a bowl. Dribble the oil in, a little at a time, whisking constantly. The mix will become thick, opaque and lighter in color. Be careful not to over-whisk as it can collapse.

For eatin’: Toast the baguette, smear with aioli, throw on the crab, sprinkle with lime, and go to town.

Arugula, Smoked Trout, and Pumpkin Seed Salad

I was a vegetarian for a long time, so I’m still a bit tentative when it comes to cooking fish.  Thus, I’m a big fan of canned tuna fish–it’s easy, it’s cheap, and I can’t screw it up. However, it is full of mercury, which is really bad for you, of course (in fact, a lot of people say that if you’re of childbearing age, you should consider cutting it out, FYI, ladies). And a lot of times, it’s not very environmentally friendly–fishing methods used to catch it are often destructive, bigeye tuna is now overfished, and yellowfin, skipjack and albacore tunas are all in decline. So, when I saw a can of farm raised smoked trout at Trader Joe’s, I figured I’d try it out as a possible tuna substitute.

Oh man, is this stuff amazing… So while I try to not eat smoked fish more than a few times a month since they contain a lot of nitrites and nitrates, this tasty fish is now a mainstay in our house.

My favorite way to eat it is in salad, and so while you hardly need a recipe for it, here’s my favorite salad, featuring arugula, smoked trout, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Don’t avoid toasting the pumpkin seeds on the stove–it only takes a few moments and they are so, so good roasted in this way. In fact, they’re my secret salad weapon. So many meat eaters who have had a salad with these pumpkin seeds ask me if there is bacon in the salad. Personally I don’t think they taste like bacon (which I never have even liked anyway), but it is a testament to their awesomeness, as most people think bacon is delicious. They add a richness and yes, even meaty, quality to the salad that is really necessary, in my opinion. Okay, on to the recipe.

Arugula, Smoked Trout, and Pumpkin Seed Salad

  • a bunch or bag of arugula
  • 1/8 C. raw pumpkin seeds
  • can of smoked trout, drained of oil
  • 1 small tart apple, diced
  • handful of dried cranberries or cherries
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
Add the pumpkin seeds to a skillet, and toast over medium high until they start popping, and are browned on all sides. Turn them off before they get too brown, as they will continue to cook off the flame. Cool on a plate. Flake the smoked trout with a fork. Add the arugula, trout, apple, feta, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds to a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and olive oil (to taste, but somewhere around 1 to 3 acid to oil) along with salt and pepper to a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Add the dressing to salad, toss, and enjoy!