“The crab that walks too far, falls into the pot”
My heart feels heavy. The end of crab season is near and I haven’t eaten enough of them yet. Although most Dungeness crabs are caught in the first few months the season can last through Spring and into June in the Pacific Northwest. That did little to calm my impending feelings of doom and loss.
Before I can completely let go and fully embrace Spring I need some crabs to lift my spirits. I headed to the Portland Farmers Market to talk with Patricia Edwards, operator of Linda Brand Crab, a collective of small family fishermen in the Northwest. She consoles me with a dense two-pound crab filled to the brim with delicious sweet meat. Not sure what to make, I contemplate these three favorite dishes.
Crab and Egg Drop Udon
One of my most loved cookbooks is ‘Takashi’s Noodles’ by noted Chef Takashi Yagihashi. It is one of the few that I actually follow recipes out of and have had great success on a regular basis. One of my favorite dishes is an easy to make soup that will satisfy your hunger pains and comfort your heart. It has become my ‘Crab noodle soup for the soul’.
- 1 pound udon noodles
- 2 quarts udon broth, see recipe below
- 1 pound fresh Dungeness crab meat from Linda Brand Crab
- 1/4 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 4 farm fresh eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- Cook udon noodles in rapidly boiling salted water. Drain and then divide between two clay pots.
- Put one quart of hot udon broth into each pot.
- Divide crab equally between pots.
- Sprinkle green peas equally over each one.
- Pour half the eggs over and garnish with chopped green onions.
- Put clay pot on a burner, cover and bring to a boil.
- Serve tableside in clay pots.
If you do not have clay pots then just use any normal pot. The clay pots can be easily found in Asian markets for 5 to 10 dollars each.
- 2 large pieces of kombu, dried seaweed, available in most Asian grocery stores
- 2 quarts cold water
- 3 cups dried bonito flakes, available in most Asian grocery stores
- 2 quarts Dashi
- 1 cup mirin, available at most Asian grocery stores
- 1 cup whiskey barrel aged Shoyu, soy sauce, or Braggs
- Put kombu and water into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Add dried bonito flakes and turn off.
- Let steep for ten minutes before straining.
- Mix dashi, mirin, and shoyu together.
- Bring to a boil and keep warm.
Dungeness Crab Sizzling Rice Soup
I was in the mood for Asian flavors and decided to do a take on salt and pepper crab, which quickly escalated to a sizzling rice version done as a soup.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 hot red pepper
- 1-inch section ginger, diced small
- 4 fat garlic cloves, peeled and diced small
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 Dungeness crabs, cleaned
- 1 small bunch kale, chopped
- 3 quarts crab stock (make like chicken stock except with crab shells)
- 8 instant sizzling rice squares
- Heat oil, hot red pepper, ginger and garlic in a cold pan and cook till amber colored and fragrant.
- Add sweet onion, green onions, and green pepper and saute till softened, about five minutes.
- Blend coriander, fennel, ground ginger, sugar, white pepper, and cornstarch. Sprinkle over sauteed onions.
- Add crab body sections and continue stir-frying.
- Add kale and cook till they are soft.
- Add crab stock, bring to a boil and simmer for thirty minutes.
- In the meantime, improvise a deep fat fryer by putting vegetable oil into a high sided sauce pot about one-third of the way up. The amount of oil you use depends on the size of your pot. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees and carefully add 8 instant sizzling rice squares. Cook till they are brown and crispy.
- Add the crab meat to the soup and season for salt.
- Pour the soup in a serving dish and drop the rice squares into the soup in front of your guests.
- The rice will sizzle away. Enjoy
Crab and Pork Dumplings (potstickers)
1. a pan-fried or steamed Chinese dumpling with ground meat or vegetable filling.
2. my second favorite thing in the world to eat.
Everyone knows I love classic French food. Steak frites, Moules frites, Duck confit, Blanquette de Veau. I come by it honestly. I have French blood coursing through my veins. What people do not know is that my mother was an avid cook of all Asian cuisines and I probably ate Chinese as much as I ate French food growing up.
basic dumpling dough
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1–1/4 cups boiling water
pork and crab dumpling filling
- 2 cups cabbage shredded
- 1–1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound crab meat
- 1 bunch green onions sliced thinly
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon chili paste
- 1-inch ginger root peeled, chopped fine
- 3 cloves garlic chopped fine
basic dumpling dough
- Put flour into the bowl of food processor fitted with a stainless steel blade. Boil water and carefully add to flour with the motor running. Keep processing until it forms a ball. If it is sticky add a touch of flour. If it is too dry add a little more boiling water. Put in a ziplock bag and let sit for 15 minutes.
pork and crab filling
- This dish gets quicker if you have all the attachments for your food processor. Use the shredding attachment to shred the cabbage. If not, hand chop finely. Sprinkle one tablespoon of salt over cabbage and let sit for 30 minutes. You will notice water coming out and the cabbage gets softer. Squeeze cabbage completely dry, keeping only the cabbage.
- Put cabbage in a large bowl with the ground pork, crab meat, green onions, white pepper, soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, cheap olive oil, chili garlic paste, ginger, garlic, and cornstarch. Ideally, let the mixture sit overnight BUT I have made the dumplings right away and they are delicious.
finishing the dumplings
- The dough dries out quickly so keep covered while working it. Cut dough into 36 equal pieces. You can use anything from a wine bottle to a rolling pin to a pasta machine to roll the dough thinly. I use my $6 pasta machine.
- Put a mound of dumpling mixture onto each rolled out a piece of dough. Wrap meat up in the dough, twist to seal all edges and pinch off any extra dough.
- Put into steamer on a bed of cabbage leaves and steam over rapidly boiling water for 15 minutes. I like to serve with a simple sauce made from mixing soy, mirin ginger, green onions, chili paste and a small splash of sesame oil.