I'm having a great summer. Yeah it's hot but you come to expect that here in Phoenix. Coyotes are staying put for now, they backed off the mass-transit strike and I spent the 4th with my folks so all-in-all can't complain. Now I got crabs....not those kind, yeesh.
Once a year the good Lord sees fit to make available one of the yummiest treats known to man. Soft shell crab. Immature freshly molted crustaceans. Usually something this pricey I would back away from for this blog but some jerk-wad ordered a bunch from my local butcher and then refused them. His loss my gain, usually they sell anywhere from 8 to 10 each but these needed to sell quick so I got them by weight at 9 a pound. See how having a good relationship with a supplier comes into play? Right.
What should I do? Maybe go Asian with a light tempura batter and Thai Curry? Maybe classic Cioppino?
OR...wait for it. We have a terrific local brewer called San-Tan that has a new seasonal. A light wheat Ale with Pineapple. Do some Midwest style corn on the cob and a Cajon style slaw? Sounds good right?
Here's what we need.
Soft Shell Blue Crab Sandwich with Cajon Cole Slaw
8 or so soft shell crabs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
Salt and Pepper
2 12oz Beers
A quantity of Cajon Blackening Powder ( I make my own, we've covered this before) We're using it a lot today
Oil and a deep pot for frying
smallish head of Cabbage
1 red Bell Pepper, small dice
3 Green Onions, same
A jar of Mayonnaise, sure I could make my own but I'm not gonna
1 whole Lemon
Fresh Corn with husk, let's be real, it's everywhere this time of year
Corn's easy. I'm keeping it Midwestern style so once the shucks are removed put it in a pot with Milk, Water, salt, pepper, sugar and butter. Just do it. Bring it to a boil, drop the heat and just forget about it.
The longer you let it sit, the better.
Cajon Cole Slaw
Basically it's a chopped salad isn't it?
Remove the core, cus yuck
Add your Pepper and Green Onion
Stupid easy I know
Take about a Cup of the Mayo. Add 1TB of Blackening Powder, a few good splashes of Tobasco, some more of the same of Cider Vinegar, pinch of Salt and Pepper, pinch of Celery Seed some chopped Dill and combine.
Dump it over the chopped stuff and toss to coat. Let that sit for a spell, longer is better.
See? It doesn't have to be fancy.
Now we set up our fry station
We're using seasoned flour first so in a wide bowl add one cup flour with a good pinch of Salt and Pepper, to that add tsp of Cajon Blackening Powder, toss , set aside
For the batter, measure out 2 1/4 cups flour. One tsp Baking Powder. Good pinch of Salt. Combine.
Dump in both Beers, whisk thoroughly.
Let sit for about 60 minutes.
Get those crabs ready. Dry as much as you can with clean paper towel. We're frying, hot oil and water don't like each other.
For frying stuff like this I like a combination of oil and shortening. Any vegetable oil will do, just add an equal amount of Crisco. Sure, if you want to drag out your deep-fryer go ahead. I'm just gonna use this pot, so there. Betcha my clean up will be easier. Test the oil temp by dropping a speck of batter in. If it bubbles and floats immediately you are ready to go.
Frying is done in steps. Use your hands and be careful.
First coat the item in the seasoned flour, shake off any excess.
Now dunk it into the batter
let it drip for a second and lower low and slow into the oil.
It only takes a minute or so, then flip it over for another 30 seconds, remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat. Don't rush and don't panic. Golden brown or nuthin'.
As an added bonus let's do an Aioli. Basically a special Mayonnaise.
A cup of Mayo
1 tsp grated Lemon peel
Juice of half a Lemon
Scant pinch salt
Big-ass pinch of Black Pepper
That'll be the spread for the sandwich. Cool.
Done? Let's plate up. Grill your bun if ya wanna, or not, your call.
Now that's summer right there
Cooking poor, eating rich
Get your grub on