Thursday, June 17, 2010

We love crab picking...

TWSF loves crab picking. No, its not what doctors do down at the free clinic, we love the picking where you sit around, drink a few beers, and tear apart some Maryland Blue Crabs. Summer is finally hear and so is the much anticipated crab season. To honor it's return TWSF decided to do some picking during the USA-England World Cup game and make some Maryland crab soup. After all, you have do something to keep yourself entertained during a soccer game.

As with all major seafood purchases, we headed down to the wharf to pick up our fare. We got 2 1/2 dozen male crabs for $18 (the actual count was more like 3 dozen). We like the males because we find them easier to pick and they have a better meat. 18 bucks is a pretty sweet deal considering a container of lump crab meat can cost $30 in the supermarket. Also, buying a can bypasses the satisfaction of handpicking your own crabmeat. 

The mongers at the wharf will steam and season the crabs for you. It takes about 20 minutes giving you time to walk around enjoy all that the wharf has to offer. Bushels (approximately 7-9 dozen crabs) go for $60 at the moment, but the mongers will sometimes give you a deal. Our monger felt bad about our 20 minute wait in the scorching heat, and gave us his card so we could order in advance next time. You know you are a foodie when you have a fish monger's business card in your wallet.

Anyways, our gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaal (soccer joke) was to pick a large pile of blue crab meat during the game to use for Maryland Crab Soup that evening. We picked, eating some and saving the majority of meat for our dinner. Crab is a good if you aren't super hungry because you get sick of picking it before you can really get "full."

By the time we were done with the game and crab picking, it was time to head to the grocery store to buy the rest of the ingredients for dinner. It was quite the seafood feast: Maryland crab soup and homemade fried calamari (we picked up 1.5 lbs for $5 while waiting for the crabs). Jealous? You should be.

Maryland Crab Soup
A recipe adapted by our friend Ritchie


2 tablespoons butter
1 cup carrots, medium dice
1 cup onion, medium dice
3/4 cup celery, medium dice
4 cups  vegetable stock (more may be needed)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (more to taste)
1/2 cup frozen peas (more to taste)
1/2 cup green beans, cut 1 inch, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning (more to taste)
4 tablespoons crab stock or bouillon base (optional)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup canned, diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato puree
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh lump crabmeat (preferably handpicked by Chuck)

1. Sauté the carrots, onions, and celery in a large pot with butter until softened.
2. Add stock to pot and bring to a boil.
3. Add corn, peas, green beans, and return to a boil.
4. Reduce and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Add remaining ingredients and continue to simmer until potatoes are cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Put individual servings in bowls and top with fresh lump crabmeat.
7. Serve with oyster crackers.

Calamari Fritti
Recipe from Tyler Florence


1 lb of fresh squid (whole if you are up for a challenge, or already cleaned if you aren't ready to stick your hands inside a squid and rip off its head)
1 egg
1 cup milk
4 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons paprika (more if you'd like)
Sea salt
Black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Clean and slice your squid. This is too difficult to explain, so watch this YouTube video for instructions.
2. Combine egg, milk, and 3 tablespoons of chopped basil in a bowl. Put the sliced squid in the bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
3. In a separate dish, combine flour, paprika, sea salt and pepper.
4. Take bowl of squid out of the refrigerator.
5. Dredge each piece of squid in the flour mixture. Make sure all sides are covered, this will be the golden brown crust.
6. Assuming you don't have a deep fryer (wish I did), heat 2 inches of canola oil in a large pan to 375 degrees F. You can buy a cheap thermometer at the grocery store to get the right temperature
7. Toss 1 PIECE OF SQUID into the hot oil to TEST. TWSF is so glad they did this, otherwise they would have burned all the calamari.
8. Once the oil fries a single calamari well, go ahead and do the rest (let each piece have its space in the pan). Fry for 1 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. (you may have to increase the heat if you notice the
9. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to paper towels to drain. Drain on paper towels and salt, to taste. Sprinkle the last tablespoon of chopped basil on calamari.
10. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and tomato sauce (see "Chuck's Sauce" for a good one).

1 comment:

  1. Next time you fry something give me a shout - you can use my deep fryer. No self-respecting southerner goes without one.