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Monday 19 August 2019
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Crabby delights

CRAB is one of my favourite seafood, the flavour and texture to me is unrivalled. I grew up enjoying the Trinidadian delicacy crab backs, back then it was the meat of the locally sourced blue crab that was used to make this special and flavour appealing appetiser.

Years after crab became more available to the consumer, imported tinned frozen crab meat appeared in gourmet shops as did imitation crabmeat. But my utmost favourite after blue crab meat is the Guyanese crabmeat, this is available seasonally at gourmet stores. It is delicious, with tremendous true crab flavour, sometimes it can be a bit dry, but the great flavour and taste more than makes up for that.

We use whole crabs in our callaloo and in our Tobago style curried crab and dumplings, but the uses of crab meat extend much further. One of my favourite ways with curried crab is to stuff the dumplings with a heaping portion of crab meat and then cook the dumplings in a curry-coconut broth; or as an appetiser, in a fritter or as a topping on a cornmeal arepa.

Try some crabby delights this weekend! Bon Appetit.

Spicy crab fritters with cocktail sauce

Crab fritters

8 ozs crab meat, picked over

2 tbs fresh lime juice

1 medium potato, boiled and crushed

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tbs butter

1 pimento pepper seeded and chopped

2 tbs chopped chives

3 tbs chopped chadon beni

2 tbs chopped parsley

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp pepper sauce

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup flour

1 egg

salt to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

In a large mixing bowl, place crab, remove any cartilage, add lime juice and potato, egg, softened butter, pepper, herbs, garlic, and pepper sauce. Combine well.

Add enough breadcrumbs to hold mixture together.

Preheat oil in a frying pan or wok.

Form mixture into two inch patties, dip in egg and then in flour to coat evenly.

Fry patties until golden brown, drain and serve hot with cocktail dipping sauce.

Makes about 12 to 15 fritters.

For the dipping sauce: Combine one cup ketchup, one quarter cup of lime juice, one quarter cup mayonnaise, two tablespoons horseradish mayonnaise, one teaspoon pepper sauce. Stir together then add salt to taste.

Makes one cup.

For a lighter side, brush with vegetable oil, and bake in a preheated oven 375F for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Arepa coins with creamy crab

½ cup butter

2 cups yellow cornmeal

½ cup grated cheese

½ cup chopped chives

2 tsp salt

2 cups hot water

Vegetable oil to fry

Combine butter with cornmeal and rub into flour, add cheese, chives and salt, add water and knead to a soft dough. Roll to ½ inch thickness and stamp out 1½ -inch diameter pieces. Preheat oil in frying pan and shallow fry until golden and cooked, about 5 minutes, drain and serve topped creamy crab.

Makes 32

Creamy crab

1 cup crab meat, picked over

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tsp pepper sauce

1 tsp fresh lime juice

salt to taste

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, chives and parsley)

Combine all the ingredients, spoon onto arepa coins and serve immediately.

Crab stuffed dumplings in coconut curry sauce

Filling:

6 ozs crab meat

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp lime juice

2 tbs vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 pimento pepper, seeded and chopped

1/4 tsp allspice

Season crab with salt, pepper, and lime juice.

In a large sauté pan, heat oil, add garlic, onion and pimento pepper, cook for about one minute, add crab and toss to combine, Remove from stove and cool.

Dumplings:

2 cups flour

1 tsp butter

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and rub butter into flour until mixture is grainy, slowly all water and knead to a stiff dough. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes.

Cut dumpling dough into 12 pieces. Make each piece into a round. Shape each piece of dough into a 21/2 to 3 inch circle. Place about one teaspoon of meat into the lower centre of the dough. Fold other half over and seal. Repeat until all the dumplings have been filled.

Curry sauce

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tbs chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

2 tbs curry powder

1/2 cup water

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup chopped chadon beni

1/4 cup chopped chives

juice of one lime

2 tsp salt

Heat vegetable oil in a sauté pan, add garlic, onion and pepper.

Sauté until fragrant.

Combine curry powder with water. Add to pan and cook until mixture begins to dry.

Add coconut milk and sprinkle on chives and chadon beni. Cook until bubbly.

Drop dumplings into curry mixture, cover and steam for a further 10 minutes,

Turning dumplings once.

If mixture seems too dry add a little more coconut milk or broth.

Sprinkle on more chadon beni if necessary.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serves 4 to 6

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