Sunday, March 22, 2009
This is a two pan dish - one for the pasta and one for the "sauce". There really isn't a recipe per se. It's kind of a theme and variation on cioppino, with a "whatever fits" attitude. This particular version consists simply of olive oil, three cloves of garlic, half of a shallot, two hot Italian sausages, a small can of San Marzano tomatoes and some dry white wine. Once the sausage, garlic and shallot were lightly browned in the olive oil, I added the tomatoes and white wine and brought the mixture to a simmer. I then tossed in a pound of mussels and a few torn basil leaves. When the mussels began to open, I added a half a pound of shrimp, some more torn basil leaves, and Italian parsley. This was served over linguine, drizzled with more oil, and accompanied by some crusty rosemary bread and the wine that was left. The process works well with most any shellfish (I've used clams, crab, scallops and lobster tails in the past) as well as firm white fish. Easy peasy, and delicious!
My recipe this week had more to do with the weather than anything else. Spring is slowly easing winter from the prairie. Buds are starting to pop and birds are yanking twigs from my gutter to make their nests. The grill itch hit me hard. Grilled Dungeness it would be. I started out with Emeril Lagasse's recipe for grilled crab but adapted it for my own tastes. Which meant bypassing the red pepper flakes, using lime instead of lemon, cilantro instead of parsley and addition of some incredible shellfish stock I made with crab shells to the grilling butter. This recipe is incredibly simple. Grill your cooked and cleaned crab on a piece of aluminum foil swimming in the butter sauce.
This is some serious crab flavor. The grilling adds an amazing smoky depth to the sweetness of the crab. But be forewarned, this is a level 5 messy meal. Cracking crabs is never for the fussy but crabs grilled in a garlic butter sauce? Wear a shirt that's already stained and have plenty of paper towels on hand but by all means, get your Crab on.