with Crab - Cookbook Review
and Menus From Chesapeake Bay Gourmet
(QVC Publishing, 2000)
summer ... do you know where your crab is? Well, Margie
Kauffman thinks you should. And she thinks it shouldn't
be down at your local seafood shack or beachside bistro.
She thinks it should be right in your own dining room
after having been prepared right in your own kitchen.
U.S. seafood advisory boards have found otherwise.
They've determined that less than 5 percent of us
ever attempt to prepare seafood. We're too intimidated
by the process, we've told their surveys, and that's
just in regards to a fillet of fish, sautéed
or simply in a pan. When it comes to what are
perceived as challenging crustaceans like lobster
or crab or moody mollusks like clams or oysters, well,
the percentages are almost nonexistent. Fortunately,
that's where Kauffman comes in.
longtime owner of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Gourmet
(which sells through QVC what a number of reviewers
have called the nation's best crab cakes via mail
order), will tell you just about everything you need
to know to tame your crab and whip him into shape.
Here's the biggest secret of all (and it goes even
more for plain old fish): preparation is easy! In
many cases, it's easier than the preparation of our
old culinary friends meat or poultry.
crab is intimidating you, it's kind of like being
intimidated by a pound of hamburger wrapped in cellophane.
As Kauffman's recipes highlight, we don't have to
crack the crab and harvest the meat ourselves; that
can be our supermarket fish manager's job. All her
recipes simply include crab meat as an ingedient.
What kind you use is your choice similar to your
choice of grade of beef for a meat recipe. Kauffman
is 'jumbo lump' crab meat, the large white
succulent chunks of completely cleaned, solid crab
meat taken from the main shell that are prized for
premium crab cakes or any fancy crab dish. You only
get two pieces of jumbo lump per crab.
crab meat, as its name implies, is the white body
meat taken from the backfin section of the crab.
It will have some large lump pieces and some broken
body meat with a few shell pieces and it's also
ideal for crab cakes, crab imperial or other crab
The 'special' grade refers to smaller, white
'flake meat' from the entire body and center parts
of the crab, as well as a minimum amount of backfin
and jumbo lump. It always needs to be picked over
carefully to remove any shell or cartilage. It's
used in crab cakes, soups, casseroles or dips.
meat' is slightly brownish with a somewhat sweeter
taste that's delicious in soups, dips and chowders.
It also makes an economical crab cake for large
gatherings. You'll find it, too, in crab cakes
served by small coffee shops.
cooks, Kauffman remarks, use a blend of crab meat
(which always needs to have been cooked before use
in a recipe) and we should always pick through it
carefully to remove any small pieces of shell or cartilage.
Once you purchase your crab meat, you can use it to
make Kauffman's delightful crab cakes, hot crab dip,
deviled crab, lime-marinated crab and shrimp, asparagus
and crab quiche or crab Benedict (a version of eggs
you want to enjoy steamed crabs or soft-shell crabs,
the process is incredibly simple, as evidenced in
the recipe for fried soft-shell crabs in beer batter.
Kauffman also gives plenty of non-crab recipes as
part of complete menus she has designed around the
Crab and Shrimp
Soft-Shell Crabs in Beer Batter