Friday, July 1, 2011

Soft-Shelled Crabs with Chard and Cilantro

A friend of mine who play cards (a LOT) would always brag the day after a night he won big and never talk after other nights. That's kind of what I find myself doing with this blog. Some nights I hit big, other nights, well let's just say they can be learning experiences.
This was one of the good nights. Laura's been suggesting we have soft-shelled crabs since we've returned back from our trip back East in May and today when I was at Tokyo Fish getting some King salmon and octopus I saw some soft-shelled blue crabs from Maryland in the window so impulsively bought a few.
I used a very simple recipe I saw on Eric Ripert's PBS show a while back. Basically you clean the crabs, dip them in flour and fry them in a mix of canola oil and butter 45 seconds a side. Delicious.
As for cleaning them, once you've done it, it's very simple. The critters were slow but alive when I brought them out of the frig. I used some kitchen shears to cut the faces off parallel to the body, removed the apron from the back, lifted the soft shells and pulled out the lungs and rinsed them under water. Dipped them in the flour then cooked them.
Since we have a shitload of chard in the garden now ready to eat, I used a Deborah Madison recipe of Chard with Cilantro. Intuitively the recipe didn't quite make sense to me when I first looked at it but it worked out great. One thing I liked was that there was something to do with the chard stalks.

2 bunches fresh chard
1 onion finely diced
1/2 cup cilantro chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cloves garlic crushed with salt
Salt and pepper for seasoning.

Strip the leaves off the chard and slice into 1-inch wide ribbons, dice the remaining stalks. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large pot and add a 1/4 cup water. Put over low heat, cover and allow to cook for 45 minutes, checking to add water if it ever dries. Season before serving. Very sweet and tangy, went great with brown rice.