Monday, June 20, 2011

The Hawthornes Have Soft Shell Crabs And Mr. Hawthorne Shows You How To Clean The Little Buggers.

The Hawthornes are having soft shells tonight.
 We won't be dining al fresco
 due to all the smoke from the Pains Bay fire.
Soft shell crabs with Rosie's Remoulade
 and Mr. Hawthorne's cole slaw.
Here's our din din for tonight.
 Four little spiders of the sea.

If you check out the apron,
 you'll see this crab is a female, as were the others.
 I ask you to indulge me now.
 I had this draft all ready to hit Publish Post
  and then I saw this video
 on Cooking Channel's Eat Street
  about how NOT to clean a soft shell crab.
 Now, please check out the video
 of Mr. Hawthorne's method of cleaning soft shell crabs.
 Who's crabs would you want to eat?
 I guess the collective answer now is a NOBODY'S!,
 but soft shells properly cleaned and fried
 are a thing of beauty.
 Once again, Rosie asks you to go out on a limb with her.
 She'll hold your hand.
Trust Rosie.
A face only a mother could love ...

... which Mr. Hawthorne promptly cut off.
To dress or clean a crab,
you first cut off the mouth and face behind the eyes,
then peel back and cut off the apron.
Next, Mr. Hawthorne peeled back the soft shell
 and snipped the gills out on each side.
Then he made a slit halfway down the middle of the shell
 and cleaned out some organs.
 This soft shell batch was all female crabs,
 so I think these might be some kind of lady parts.

I also dispose of the yellow gunk, also known as the "green gland," or "mustard," or "tomalley." Contrary to popular belief, this is not fat. It's actually a main component of the crab's digestive system - the hepatopancreas - which acts as both liver and pancreas. It serves to produce digestive enzymes and is also responsible for filtering impurities from the crab's blood. Research has shown that colorless, odorless, and tasteless chemical contaminants such as PCBs, dioxin, and mercury accumulate in the fatty tissues and concentrate in the hepatopancreas and can increase one's chances of developing cancer, having neurological impairments, or miscarrying. Frankly, I don't want to eat that. Many people consider this mustard a delicacy. I do not. It has a strong, bitter, and unpleasant taste, to me.
To fry soft shells,
we set up a 3-step fry station.
 Flour, Old Bay, salt and pepper on the left.
 Egg bath in the middle.
 Two eggs with 2 TB water.
 Equal amounts flour and semolina flour
 with some Cajun seasoning on the right.
Mix well.
Dredge each crab through the flour and Old Bay,
 then the egg, then the semolina mixture.
Carefully place into 350 degree oil.
 Step back.
 Crabs like to spit at you.
 I fry one or two at a time.
 Never crowd your fry pan.
 It lowers the temperature of the oil
and you end up with pale and greasy and oily,
 not beautiful brown and crisp and crunchy.
2 1/2 - 3 minutes.
Drain on newspapers or paper towels.
 Serve with your favorite cole slaw and Rosie's Remoulade.
Ingredients for Rosie's Remoulade:
 1 cup mayo
 2 TB onion, minced
 1 TB celery, minced
 2 garlic cloves, minced
 1 heaping teaspoon capers, minced
 2 TB white vinegar
 2 TB coarse ground mustard
 10 grinds black pepper
 4 grinds sea salt
 1 tsp cayenne
 1 tsp cumin
 fresh cilantro and fresh, green coriander seeds
 If you don't have the fresh, green coriander seeds
 you can substitute a teaspoon of ground coriander,
 but you just won't have that surprising citrus pop
you get from the fresh coriander.
 Mix all ingredients.
Celery and onion going into mayo.
Add in salt, pepper, cayenne, and cumin.
This is fresh cilantro and the fresh green coriander seeds picked from my garden.
Add in and mix well.

Rosie must have her lemon.

And don't forget Rosie's Pig Shack Sauce!
 (AKA Boar and Castle Sauce)
Bon appetit!

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