Sunday, June 03, 2007
Crab me if you can!
From the Trying Something New Department: A small confession...I've never cooked crab legs before. I've definitely eaten my weight in them at a Red Lobster Crabby Monday or two, and based on that, if I'm ever reincarnated as a snow crab, I'll be the first one they all gang up on and eat. But, I've never done them at home.
Why? Well, maybe because I was wee tiny bit afraid of them. I mean, they're not exactly cheap, and I always hate to screw up expensive food. (I hate to screw up any food, but it hurts more when it costs more.) And, the whole boil them in the pot, etc. seemed to be a bit too much time and effort (yes, I can be a lazy cook!), not to mention fraught with danger that I might overcook them, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, and remember, they are expensive. Plus, at Red Lobster, they will bring you ALL the drawn butter you want on demand, and butter on demand is a damned good thing, Martha.
Anyway, the SS boss got a 30-lb box of mighty fine snow crab legs in for a crab and shrimp boil dinner she was throwing (the joys of having access to a food service supplier!), and since she
needed nowhere near that amount, she offered them up to us at her price...which was about $5 a pound. So, I snagged about 5 lbs or so, and set about researching the best method to cook them.
I first consulted with a friend (D) who's wife (S) is patently unfraid of crab legs, and they do them all the time. He said that she had distilled the whole process down to roasting them in the oven. Roasting? In the oven? How novel! I thought. No pot! No boiling, which in my mind translates to no over cooking. Her recommendation was to thaw them completely, put them in a shallow pan with a little water and some cut up lemons. Cover with foil and pop them in a 400-degree F oven for about 10 minutes, or until they were heated through. Brilliant with a capital B!
Except...I didn't take the crabs out of the freezer soon enough. What the hell I was thinking, I don't know...actually, yes I do know...it was the laziness again. The chest freezer is in the basement, and when I would think about trudging to the basement specifically for the crab legs, I would tell myself that I would get them the next time I went down for something else. I would be multi-tasking, and we all know that multi-tasking makes us feel good and like we've accomplished more.
I had planned to cook these on Saturday evening for some friends who are visiting from the Rocket City, and finally, on Saturday morning, I get around to getting the bag out of the freezer while I was sorting laundry. Except, I forgot to take it upstairs and left it sitting in the floor of the basement for about 20 minutes--I remembered it when I was in the shower. So, I rush out of the shower and grab them and toss them in the fridge. No harm done, and I think they will be thawed by the evening...like they were shrimp or something with a thin shell. (Sometimes, I am amazed that I can actually get up and brush my teeth in the morning without some sort of prompting and a detailed list of instructions.)
See, crabs have significantly thicker shells than shrimp...and I know that--you know that--everybody who's ever eaten a crab knows that, and we'll just leave it there.
Suffice it to say, when I went to grab the crabs from the fridge, they were still pretty damn cold, and it's going to take more than 10 minutes to heat them through. I've gotten this far, so no going back now.
I rinsed them under cold running water for a few seconds and then threw them on the baking sheet. Cover or no cover? I opt to go with no cover, gambling that since they would be thawing and producing some liquid as they heated, and being enclosed in a hot box would facilitate steaming.
Well, 7 come 11 to Mama! It paid off! I put them in for about 10 minutes, checked and noticed they were gently steaming but still cold, so I amped it up to around 425 degrees F and checked them again 10 more minutes. Perfecto!
The crab legs looked mighty fine, and they were the easiest crab legs to crack, ever. And, my house didn't smell like fisherman's wharf, either! Bonus!
I steamed some new potatoes and corn on the cob to go with, and we cooked up some little tiny chuck eye steaks to have a sort of surf and turf and keep with The Man's Boxing Diet (more on this in another post...it's been a bit challenging), and we were crackin', dippin', butter drippin' fools. Salut!