Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Easy Pan Fried Shrimps

As an accompaniment to the crab bisque, I was inspired by a popcorn shrimp recipe I saw on Chuck's Day Off. The deep fried version looked mouth watering but I thought I could make a healthier version by pan frying the shrimps instead.

Easy Pan Fried Shrimps

Easy Pan Fried Shrimps
Adapted from Chuck's Day Off's Popcorn Rock Shrimp.

* shrimps
* salt, to taste
* red chili flakes
* 1 egg, beaten
* cornstarch
* oil

Season shrimps with salt and chili flakes.
Dip in egg and then in cornstarch.
On high heat, add oil in a frying pan.
Add shrimps to the pan.
Fry on one side for a minute or two; flip to fry the other side.

Dip in eggs Pan frying shrimps
Shrimps in egg wash and pan frying them.

This recipe could not be easier and it tasted great! I barely noticed that the shrimps were not actually deep fried. The cornstarch gave the shrimps a crispy coating. Properly seasoning the shrimps made them perfect little salty treats. These would probably be good dipped in sweet chili sauce.

Fried shrimps without the guilt!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crab Bisque

I have been totally neglecting this blog in 2011. Now I have a little backlog of posts and don't really know where to start. I will start with this crab bisque that I made back in January and hopefully, this will get the ball rolling!

Crab Bisque

I really wanted to make a bisque but killing a crustacean made me nervous. I collected my courage and headed to my nearby Asian grocery store, where I debated between lobster and crab. The lobsters seemed emaciated so I finally came home with a very large crab in a paper bag. I have to admit that he freaked me out a bit, trying to attack me with his claws. But I won in the end and enjoyed a lovely bisque.

Crab Bisque
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

Cooking a crab
I may have called my mom in a panic to ask her what to do with a crab. A helpful hint she did provide is that since I bought a Dungeness crab there was no need for added salt since the salty ocean water would make the crab salty. I thought picking out the crabmeat was the most labour intensive step of this recipe but fresh crabmeat is worth it!

* 1 Dungeness crab, 1 to 1-½ lb. each

Place the crab in a large pot (I used tongs to not get clawed!).
Add about a cup of water - it should not cover the crab but will steam it.
Add half an onion.
Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Twist off the legs and claws and set aside.
Place the crab on its back and pull off the small triangular apron-shaped shell flap, then insert your thumb underneath the top shell and pull it off.
Remove the dark gray intestines and the feather-shaped white spongy gills from the body and discard.
Rinse the crab body well.
Break the body in half and remove the meat from the cavities.
Crack the legs in several places and remove the meat.
Set aside the crabmeat in a bowl.
Crack the large claws and carefully remove the meat from each claw in a single piece.
Slice the meat and set aside for garnish.
Using kitchen shears, cut the shells into small pieces; set aside for the broth.

IMG_1875 IMG_1877
This guy donated himself to my bisque. Thank you!

Making bisque

* 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
* 1 small yellow onion, chopped
* 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
* 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
* ¾ cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
* ¾ cups dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc
* 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
* 3 cups water
* ½ cup heavy cream
* pinch of cayenne pepper
* salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.
Add the crab shells, tomatoes and wine.
Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir to mix well.
Add water and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Strain the broth through a sieve and transfer to a clean soup pot.

Carrots, celery and onion Carrots, celery and onion
Crab shell and tomatoes Straining the broth
Making the crab broth.

Place the pot over low heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
Stir in the cream and cayenne and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Add the reserved crabmeat and heat through.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with the claw meat.

The bisque provided a concentrated flavour of crab. I loved the orange hue of the soup. I did not blend any of the meat so I could enjoy the lumps of meat with the broth. It's a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort. If you want to wow guests this is the recipe to make. You can prepare the broth in advance and just need to heat it up, add the cream and season right before serving. It will be a guaranteed winner!

Beautiful crab bisque!