Feeling Crabby, Think Louisiana Sunshine with Garlic Crabs Recipe from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin
Feeling crabby! Think Louisiana sunshine with Garlic Crabs recipe from Mosquito Supper Club (Artisan Books, April 2020) by Melissa Martin.
Garlic Crabs with Parsley and Lemon
Serves 2 to 4
In Louisiana, when temperatures start rising to sweltering highs and the brackish water heats up, it’s peak crab season. From June to September, you can open just about any icebox on the bayou and find a tray of boiled crabs. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are endless ways to eat leftover boiled crabs. You can eat them cold, stew them, throw them in gumbo, or roast them like this, with garlic and lemon. The crabs are already cooked, so you are just warming them through and creating a delicious sauce that will be partially baked on. You’ll need lots of crusty bread or rice to soak up the buttery, garlicky jus.
Leaves from 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley
12 garlic cloves, peeled
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
6 boiled large or medium blue crabs, halved and cleaned of their gills and lungs (see Note)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Original Louisiana Hot Sauce
3 bay leaves (see Note)
½ cup (120 ml) canola oil
½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter
Crusty bread or cooked rice, for serving
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
On a cutting board, combine the parsley, 6 of the garlic cloves, and the lemon zest. Finely chop them together, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
Put the crabs in a large bowl and season with the salt, black pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce. Add the bay leaves.
Warm a large cast-iron skillet or ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, then add the oil and the remaining 6 garlic cloves. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, then use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a plate; set aside.
Working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet, add the crabs to the hot oil and cook until starting to brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook until starting to brown on the second side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the crabs to a roasting pan and repeat to brown the remaining crabs.
Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet and let it melt. Return the crabs to the skillet and turn them to coat evenly with the butter. Transfer the crabs and the reserved garlic to the roasting pan and place the pan in the oven. Roast, flipping once after 3 minutes, until the crabs are golden, about 6 minutes total.
Remove from the oven and add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and the parsley-garlic mixture to the pan. Toss until the crabs are evenly coated. Season with the lemon juice and serve with crusty bread or rice.
Note: A cleaned crab is a live crab that has had the top shell, gills, and back flap removed. Ask your fish market or seafood purveyor for fresh cleaned crabs, or ask if they’ll clean some crabs for you if they’re not already on hand.
Note: I like to leave the bay leaves in the final recipe. They’re not meant to be eaten, but it makes for a beautiful, rustic presentation.
(“Excerpted from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin -Artisan Books- Copyright © 2020. Photographs by Denny Culbert")