October 08, 2009

Daddy and the Jersey Blues

One friend online who used to have lobster feasts with his family blogged about it.  It reminded me of home in NJ and my dad.

My dad loved the Jersey blue crabs and growing up we would have summer feasts with these. Dad would buy them fresh and alive and add all sorts of spices to the boiling water we cooked them in. I remember them in the paper bags scrambling around trying to get out. Sometimes we would take one or two out and let them race. But I was always afraid of them as a kid. Those claws looked so evil and I was afraid it would bite my finger off.

Dad always seemed like such a brave guy doing battle with them. Later on as a chef, I watched the guys I work with argue over who was going to cook a few lobsters that were alive. The sissies wouldn't touch them, they were afraid! And so I mustered up my courage, remembering my dad doing battle with the crabs and grabbed that sucker and tossed him into the boiling water. The guys I worked with were stunned I did that. Here are grown men being sissies and I grabbed it and did it. But it was remembering what dad did that gave me the courage to do it. I guess at that moment I finally grew up......sort of a rite of passage.

But dad would cook several dozen of these crabs and he would clean them too. I remember it being an all day thing, cooking and cleaning and packing them up to chill. And when picnic day came, oh how we couldn't wait!

I remember sitting outside at the table, bowls of crab parts, bodies, claws, legs all for our choice of what we liked. I remember my grampa eating them too, he loved the legs and I never understood why cuz to me there was nothing in them. But he would be sucking away at the juices I guess. And we would eat and eat till we couldn't eat anymore, covered with juice, sticky fingers.

Dad is alot older now and doesn't do that much. Now he buys them from a crab shack already cooked and cleaned. But as a special treat, when I go to visit, Ill have dad order some for us. We drive to get them, then get all set up to have a feast together , just me and dad. Now we sit side by side at the counter in his kitchen. My friend who's blog I read today reminded me of this. I haven't been home in a couple yrs now and dad isn't well, mom says. I think I need to do it once I know whats going on with this house. And I need to take Dad shopping once again for the crabs for a feast. I miss that, sitting by dad, eating and talking about everything and anything. I better do it soon while hes still here.

Sometimes when QVC has a deal on the big lump crabcakes, I send dad a pkg to enjoy. Here's one way to eat them.

 Blue Crab Cake Panini

1 lb. blue lump crab meat
2 small garlic cloves
1/2 c. fresh washed basil leaves
1 egg
6 T. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped red onion
1/2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 c. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/3 + 1/4 c. minced green onions
1/3 c. minced celery
1/2 c. cracker crumbs
2 T. minced parsley
1-1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning

Mix garlic cloves, basil leaves, 3 T. olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste and mayonnaise in a food processor and set aside.

Toss together red onion, red wine vinegar and fresh oregano in a small bowl and set aside.

Blue Crab Cakes:
1. Heat 3 T. oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Saute 1/3 cup minced green onions and minced celery until soft.
2. In a large bowl, mix cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of minced green onions, egg, parsley, seafood seasoning and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the sauteed onion and celery, then gently mix in the crab meat.
3. Form the crab mixture into eight cakes using a round mold or hands. Place the cakes, not touching, on a metal baking sheet. Broil the crab cakes under the broiler for about 4 minutes. Gently turn them over, careful not to break them, and broil on the other sides. At the end of 8 minutes, they should be nicely browned.

Assemble The Dish:
1. Heat a stovetop grill on medium heat.
2. Crown 8 semi-hard round buns by cutting off the rounded tops with a bread knife. If not already split, cut in half, lengthwise. Brush the outsides with olive oil.
3. On the inside of the top half of each bun, spread about 1 tsp. basil sauce and 1/2 T. onion relish. Place a crab cake on the inside of the bottom half of the bun.
4. Grill each sandwich for a minute or two per side, pressing down on the sandwich with an egg turner. The sandwich is done when lightly browned on each side.
5. Cut the sandwiches into two halves or quarters and serve.

1 comment:

Shabbyfufu said...

Now that look delicious and not too sinful either. I had totally forgotten that QVC sells crabcakes~they are yummy!