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November: Chef Kevin Weinberg's crab recipes

Health food in the East Bay is losing its snob appeal. Two new restaurants combine healthy, often organic ingredients to create quick meals—that don’t cost that much more than a Big Mac.


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Photography by Joe Budd

Walnut Creek Yacht Club Roasted Dungeness Crab
 

Use live crab for the freshest taste. If you buy crab that is pre-cooked, cut down on the roasting time by half.

Ingredients:

1 2-pound Dungeness crab
2 ounces olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (about three cloves, or more if you like)
2 ounces of fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme,
2 teaspoons red chili flakes (less or more if you like)
2 ounces white wine (or beer, if that’s what you’re drinking)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces butter, chopped into small chunks
1 tablespoon minced parsley

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the crab by cleaning and cracking it. You can ask your fishmonger to do this, but you must use it immediately. Create a marinade by mixing together all the ingredients, except for the crab, butter, and parsley. Pour the marinade over the crab in a roasting pan, and let the crab sit in it for 20 minutes. Toss the butter chunks on top of the crab and roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you hear the crab sizzling. If you use pre-cooked crab, roast for about 10 minutes.

Pour crab and sauce onto a platter, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve with crusty bread.

Serves one or two people (depending on how hungry you are!).

Cioppino

For this fish stew, created by Italian immigrants to San Francisco, feel free to choose the kind of firm white fish that you want to use. This base is for 6-8 servings.

Sauce Base Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onions
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced fennel
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced green pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely sliced garlic
1 teaspoon or more, red chili flakes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 cup white wine
1 cup fish stock
2 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes in juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
4 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

Seafood Ingredients

1-1/2 pounds live or cooked crab, cleaned and cracked
18 prawns, peeled and deveined
1 pound firm fish, such as swordfish, cut into chunks
30 mussels
30 clams

Directions: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan with straight sides and add the onions, celery, fennel, carrots, and green pepper. Sauté these ingredients for five to 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, red chili flakes, and all the herbs, except for the parsley. Saute for a few more minutes, until all ingredients are combined and heated through.

Pour in the white wine and cook for five minutes or until reduced by half, then add the fish stock, and cook for another five minutes. Add the diced tomatoes in their juice. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and chopped parsley.

Add the seafood and cook for a few more minutes. The cioppino is done when the mussels and clams have opened, and the fish and prawns are opaque, approximately 6-8 minutes. Throw out any mussels or clams that didn’t open.

Crab cakes

These taste great with juice from fresh lemons squeezed over them.

1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced celery
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 slice white bread
1 large egg
½ cup milk
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Tabasco Sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ to ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound crabmeat
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons cooking oil

Directions: Heat butter in a pan and cook celery and onion on low heat for just a few minutes. Add parsley. Set aside to cool.

Tear up the bread slice into small pieces. In a blender, put the bread, egg, milk, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend well.

In a bowl, place the cooked celery and onion and the ingredients from the blender. Add the crabmeat. Gently fold together, taking care to not break up any of the large pieces of crab.

Cool this mixture in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before shaping it into cakes. You can mold the cakes by hand or use a stainless steel ring mold of any size (the Yacht Club uses 2 1/2 –inch ring molds). Dust each side with panko bread crumbs. Set cakes aside to rest for about 10 minutes before cooking.

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees while heating cooking oil to medium high in a pan. Cook each cake on each side until golden brown. Place fried cakes on a metal plate or pan, lined with a paper towel, to soak up excess oil or butter. Place cakes into the oven to heat them all the way through 5-7 minutes.

Makes 6, 2 ½-inch crab cakes.

WCYC Crab Louie Salad

Also spelled Crab Louis, the so-called “King of Salads” is a famous West Coast invention that now has about as many versions as there are cooks. You can mix up the lettuce if you like. Romaine is a good choice, or a nice mix of greens will work just fine. We use crisp iceberg. You could also add pickle spears, roasted or sliced green or red peppers, asparagus, or other vegetables of your liking, but don’t get too carried away. One of the beauties of this salad is its simplicity.

1 head iceberg lettuce, cut in half or diced
1 cup Louie dressing (see below)
½ pound fresh picked Dungeness crabmeat
2 eggs, hard boiled
2 vine ripe tomatoes
10 slices cucumber
¼ cup shaved red onion
1 avocado
2 tablespoon red radish, julienne
1 cup Louie Dressing

Place lettuce on you plate. Spoon at least ½ cup Louie Dressing over this. Arrange the other ingredients around on the plate. Top with crabmeat and then top that with a nice fan of avocado with the radish on top of that. Make sure you season your egg, tomato and avocado with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

Makes 2 nice dinner-size salads.

Louie Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cocktail sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
2 tablespoons diced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons diced celery
2 tablespoons diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons brandy
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon chopped capers
1 teaspoon chiffonade of parsley
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Put all ingredients in blender and blend well, but not until completely smooth. Make sure mixture is a bit coarse in texture. Alternatively, fold the finely diced vegetables into the rest of the ingredients for any even chunkier texture. Taste and adjust seasoning.
 

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