Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pacific Northwest Seafood Feast

INGREDIENTS: (serve the seafood feast with sliced French bread and green salad on the side)

(for the crab cakes)

2 large (2 1/2 lbs. weight each) Dungeness crabs, meat removed (about 2 lbs. crab meat)
1 shallot, minced fine
1/2 a celery stalk, minced fine
1/2 a red bell pepper, minced fine
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 egg, beaten
5 drops Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. olive oil

1) Combine all the ingredients apart from the butter and olive oil in a mixing bowl and season to taste.
2) Form the crab cake batter into 12 patties and leave them in the fridge for one hour, covered. Chilling the crab will help it keep its shape when pan-fried.
3) Heat the butter and oil until just smoking over high heat and fry half the cakes, turning them over after about five minutes and cooking until each side is crisp and golden-brown. Repeat with the other six patties, placing the crab cakes on a paper towel to cool slightly.

(for the shrimp)

2 lbs. fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 white sweet onion (Walla Walla is great), chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flake
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 tbsp. minced fresh Italian parsley
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1) Heat the olive oil and saute the onion, garlic and red pepper flake for approx. 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
2) Add tomatoes and press with a slotted spatula to incorporate the tomato into the oil, cooking for 5-7 minutes more.
3) Add the wine and saute 2-3 minutes, until the alcohol has burned away partially.
4) Saute the shrimp until all sides are pink, and no longer. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.

(for the Za'atar aioli)

1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey
2 tbsp. Za'atar

1) Combine all the ingredients, whisking rapidly with a fork or wire whisk--alternately, combine in the small bowl of a food processor. Season to taste.

(for the beer)
1 bottle Widmer Drifter Pale Ale

Open beer. Enjoy together.

We were out with the infamous Messrs. Jim LeMonds and Larry Moorehead at Porky's, a fine beer purveyor in our hometown of Longview, Washington, and we sampled this on draft--it's surprisingly awesome. Widmer is a decent beer, but this is a great pale ale. It has lovely sweet red grapefruit notes, hardly any bitterness, and finishes with lush malt and tangerine tones. If you can get your hands on it, throw some back. We think it would pair fabulously with the fresh, sweet, savory seafood dishes we made for our feast.

We're in Washington! The feast was chez Farber residence, and we ate fresh shrimp and crab until the shrimp and crab were no more. Dungeness isn't available on the East Coast as far as we know, and it's the best crab ever. Here's my mom and dad--you'll notice my dad happens to be holding an advance reader's copy of a certain book.

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