Saturday night crab feed

As promised, I have for you all the details on this evening’s belly-busting repast, which consisted of open-face crab sandwiches, spicy salsa soup, and guiltless coleslaw.

It all starts with fresh Dungeness crab, of course, which I have been seeing in every grocery store in town for the past couple of weeks. I went to get one today, though, and had to go to three stores to find it! Here it is, along with its fellow ingredients.

Crab dinner

That’s a good-looking crustacean, no?

It’s been a long time since I cleaned a crab, so I was a little nervous about how to do it properly. Never fear, the internet is here. Watch and learn:

“And there you have it.” Actually less than 30 seconds from start to finish.

Cleaned crab

Like most things, it’s so easy once you know how.

Cracking and picking take a whole lot longer, of course. I’ve always thought that crab is an awful lot of work for what you get, but on the other hand, there’s nothing else quite like it.

I’ll bet you want that recipe now, right?

It’s basically Open Faced Crab Sandwiches from food.com, with a couple of modifications … I added some Old Bay seasoning and lemon pepper, and substituted dill havarti for the cheddar just because I like dill havarti better. This made a very rich mix, and I divided it into only four servings, which made for a really hearty meal for two people (could easily have served eight). I think my sandwiches would have been improved if the mixture had been spread rather more thinly on the bread, maybe just a quarter-cup or third-cup per serving.

They came out looking and tasting great, though (even though I forgot to add the tomatoes, oops).

Crab sandwiches

They tasted as good as they look.

The soup recipe is from a long-ago friend of mine named Wendy, with whom I once co-hosted an epic winter crab feed with many friends that was talked about in our circle for months after. She made her soup just a tad shy of thermonuclear hot; I prefer to keep my taste buds intact so I tone it way down. You can adjust the seasonings and choice of salsa to make it as hot or as mild as you like.

Salsa Soup
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced in rings
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 stick butter
2 cups spicy tomato juice (V-8)
2 cups prepared beef or vegetable broth
1/2 cup salsa

Sauté onions and garlic in butter until tender and golden brown (about 20 minutes).
Add tomato juice, broth and salsa.
Simmer uncovered for up to an hour.
Garnish with croutons and shredded jack cheese.

The guiltless coleslaw came from my neighbor and dinner guest. She ran through the recipe for the dressing quickly, but as best I can recall, she added sugar, celery seed, dry mustard and a bit of oil to white vinegar and boiled it up, let it cool, then poured it over finely chopped cabbage, green onion and green pepper. She said it’s important to let the dressed slaw stand overnight for best flavor. It’s my favorite coleslaw recipe of all time.

A fantastic meal with a glass (or maybe two, I’m not telling) of wine, a dab of Ben & Jerry’s for dessert, lots of conversation and laughter–it doesn’t get any better than that in my house on a Saturday night.

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