we got crabs in the pacific northwest!

Our apologies for being rather MIA over the past couple of weeks, as we have been on the west coast enjoying an extended vacation in Oregon.  PAB's favorite sister was married on Saturday, July 24th. Following the wedding festivities, we traveled to the coast and have been staying in a wonderful rental home steps from the beach.

One day, we decided to meander down to the RV park nearby, since they had a posted sign for boat rentals.  Before we knew it, we were motoring around the bay with seven crab traps in a rickety metal boat. Three hours later, we had caught a few Dungeness keepers & a pail of Red Rock crabs (that evening we threw the crab traps out at low tide and collected them from the shallows the following morning...jackpot! Grabbed a dozen regulation size Dungeness with comparatively little effort).  We cleaned, boiled, and tediously picked the meat to eventually prepare crab cake hollandaise:

Crab cakes: 
It was quite laborious to pick all the crab meat, especially the smaller red rocks, but eventually we were ready for assembly.  Since we are staying in a rental house, our kitchen isn't exactly fully stocked...but never fear, the newly titled "brother-in-law" stepped up to the plate and made magic with what we had.  And, lucky for us, the trick to good crab cakes (all fish cakes) is to use just enough ingredients that will a) highlight the flavor of the meat, and b) hold everything together.  In our case, the following ingredients were utilized:
  • fresh crab
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • celery seed
  • parsley
  • eggs
  • mayo
  • brown mustard
  • panko bread crumbs

(If you are like ELZ and need to at least have a recipe for reference while cooking...try searching epicurious.com: there are tons of options for creating your perfect crab cake.)  
- Once you have your cakes, place them on a baking sheet. 
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees and bake the cakes for about 20 minutes.  
- Then, turn on the broiler for a few minutes to give them that crispy texture. 
Meanwhile...poach your eggs & make your hollandaise (mmmm, butter and egg yolks...).

Poaching eggs:
- Fill a saucepan with about an inch and a half of water & vinegar (about a teaspoon) and bring to a simmer.
- Break one egg into a small bowl and slide the egg yolk into the water, repeating with each egg
- Space the eggs evenly in the saucepan
- Poach at a bare simmer for about two or three minutes until whites are firm and yolks are still runny
- Transfer eggs to paper towels using a slotted spoon.

How to make hollandaise:
Makes about 1.5 cups

  • 3 tablespoons of white-wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons of cold water
  • 1/3 teaspoon of salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (cut into chunks to soften)
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

- Mix together the vinegar, two tablespoons of the water, the salt & pepper in a medium-size saucepan.  Bring to a boil until mixture is reduced to two tablespoons.
- Whisking the egg yolks constantly, cook over very low heat for about one minute until thickened (careful: do not scramble eggs)
- Whisk in the chunks of butter one piece at a time, lifting the saucepan occasionally to cool the sauce
- Remove from heat, whisking in lemon juice, cayenne, and more salt to taste

Various pictures from our crabbing experience:

ELZ & PAB's review: We highly recommend the experience of crabbing to anyone who is fortunate enough to spend some time near a coast inhabited by these shellfish.  Renting the boat was fairly inexpensive ($20/hour) when compared to the grocery store price of the crabs we caught ($8/pound)...and plus, the thrill of spending the afternoon fixing the bait to the traps, waiting to see if we caught any crabs large enough to keep, was well worth the rental price.  We were lucky enough to make a couple great meals out of our catch, plus provided D & J with enough frozen crab meat to last them well until their next trip to the oregon coast. 

Waste not, want not
elz + pab

Hollandaise on FoodistaHollandaise

Dungeness Crab on FoodistaDungeness Crab


Rosemary said...

You two have out done yourselves with this posting on crabbing!! Not only was it fun to read, I can't wait to try your recipe for the hollandaise sauce. Excellent job sharing your experience, tips and photos!

Chef Dennis said...

looks like you certainly had a good time crabbing! Dungeness don't look that much different from blue claws!