Serious crab purists have no time to hit the sauce

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You’ll recall from my last two posts (here and here) that I entertained my family, including two from Atlanta this week, and prepared three dishes from Good Fish.  The third delicacy of the evening was Newspaper Crab with Three Sauces (pg 53) and Becky touts it as one of her favorites for entertaining first time visitors to Seattle – so this should be perfect, right?

And it was, all things considered, but I had forgotten what crab “purists” my family members are.  We have been spoiled for most of our lives with fresh crabs we used to catch/cook ourselves at the family cabin at Birch Bay, and I overestimated their interest in enjoying a tasty dipping sauce with a Dungeness beauty.  Even the Atlanta relatives have spent a good deal of time in the great Pacific Northwest, so they can’t be considered newbies by any means.

They all looked a bit like deer in the headlights when presented with the three dipping sauces from the recipe, intended to be yummy additions to the sweet, succulent crab legs they’d soon be cracking and picking.  I explained the concept of the recipe, and they all nodded in understanding, but most were not too excited about “ruining” that perfect taste of fresh picked crab – and I don’t blame them.

The three sauces – Soy Caramel, Avocado Herb and Lemon Panko – are all incredibly delicious, and certainly work well with the crab.  However I could hear the gears turning in each of their pretty little heads, as they pondered all the *other* types of seafood these sauces would be good with – but just not this beautiful crab. I do appreciate that they indulged me and tried each one, but I noticed everyone quickly returned to the simple, unadulterated version of cracked crab au natural soon thereafter, with satisfied smiles on their faces.

As Becky predicts in the book, most preferred one sauce over the others, but it was a mixed bag.  A few loved the melted butter followed by a roll in crunchy lemony panko, while a couple others thought the creamy Avocado Herb was so much like a great guacamole that they took the rest home to use it on veggie sandwiches the next day! And then others were smitten by the seductive taste of the Soy Caramel, my personal favorite as well.  Unless you don’t like soy sauce (my sister!), there’s no way you can resist this salty-sweet umami-rich sauce, and it would enhance pretty much any fish/seafood you chose to pair it with.

Speaking of pairing, the suggested light beer (Full Sail) was a great match, although it’s hard to hold your beer mug when your hands are coated with the sticky crabby goodness – but somehow we all figured that one out just fine!  If you’re not a beer person, try a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc instead.

So tell me, are you a crab “purist” and prefer your crab au natural, or do you like a good dipping sauce to bump up the flavor?  If so, what’s your favorite sauce?  Spill the details in the comments below, if you dare…

NEXT: The final four recipes of Good Fish, and YES, I will finish by the Labor Day goal – woohoo!


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Copyright 2011 Karen Rosenzweig