Monday, February 16, 2015

More Crab, Less Crabby

Shortly after I made the love bundles with the sole and the crab that made me so crabby, I found a can of the good crab 'way back in the cupboard and pounced upon it with glee. You see, I had been working up to this moment for quite some time. It's a long tale, so settle back. Here goes:

Just before Christmas, my DC brother and his lovely wife paid us a visit. One of the fun meals we had while they were here was cracked Dungeness crab. Dungeness is the West coast version of heaven, wonderful, big, sweet crabs - one crab per person makes a whole meal, with sourdough baguette, wine, and a salad, if you insist on having something green with your crab. We love to treat out-of-towners to a crab feed. We cover the table with newspapers, set out the crackers and the picks, place a roll of paper towels within reach, and let everyone have at it. Before you know it, they are up to their elbows in crab juice and blissfully occupied prying out each morsel.

On a pouring rainy day, we stopped at Kermit Lynch so my oenophile bro could choose us a bottle or two of wine to accompany the crab, at Acme Bakery next door to get a baguette to go with it, and at Tokyo Fish up the street to snag our crabs. While we were awaiting the cleaning of our crabs, the careful young man behind the counter asked me, "Do you want the crab butter?" Ignorant of what that was, I was ready to refuse it when I thought to ask, "What do people do with the crab butter?"

He explained that some people use it to dip their bread in when they eat the crabs. "Okay," I said, "Thanks, I'll take the the butter."  We tried it when we got home but, in our view, it will never replace sweet butter, so I popped it into the freezer, figuring I'd make something of it some day.

When I had just about two cups of kabocha squash soup left from another meal, all of a sudden I realized that I had all the makings of an interesting soup on hand!  I had that elusive can of Dungeness crabmeat!  I had the crab butter!  I could buy a bottle of clam juice! And I had my soup "base" in the sweet squash soup!

So, I put the squash soup, the crab butter (which was a little lumpy), and the clam juice in a blender and zizzed them together until smooth, then poured them into a soup pot. Added just a few dashes of Cholula hot sauce for spice. Warmed the soup base until it was steaming, then gently added the chunks of crab meat and warmed it the rest of the way. Topped with super garlic croutons from Semifreddi's bakery, it was as lovely a bowl of soup as I have ever eaten.

We even got to eat it outside, as the weather was balmy and My Beloved had improved enough by then to sit up for his meals. We basked in the sunshine and reveled in that killer soup, feeling far less crabby now that we had more crab.

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