September 12th, 2017
From Lure Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the West Coast , by Ned Bell with Valerie Howes
Taco shells: Heat several inches of oil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, Dutch oven, or deep-fryer to 340°f. Place a wrapper in a taco shell maker and gently lower it into the oil. Cook for 30 seconds or until golden. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. (Alternatively, shape a piece of aluminum foil into a thick rectangle and drape the wrapper over it. Use tongs to hold the wrapper onto the foil as you lower it into the oil. Continue holding it in place until it’s done.)
Tacos To steam the crab and extract the meat from the legs and main shell, follow the instructions below.
Cut each avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Using a fork, coarsely mash the avocado with the lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Put spoonfuls onto serving plates.
Stuff about 2 tablespoons of the crabmeat into each taco shell, and set them into the mashed avocado, which will help hold them upright. Top with a little vinaigrette and garnish with the radishes and radish sprouts.
Add dots of vinaigrette around the plate. Sprinkle with a pinch of Shichimi Togarashi. Serve the tacos with lime wedges on the side, and instruct guests to scoop up a little of the avocado with every taco.
Chef’s notes: Shichimi Togarashi is a popular Japanese spice blend and table condiment that is made of coarse ground red chili, sansho (a type of Japanese pepper), roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, hemp seed, ground ginger, and nori. It is available at Asian markets.
Steamed Crab: Chill the live crabs in the freezer for 15 minutes before cooking—it slows them down and makes them easier to get into the water. Set a steamer insert over a few inches of water in a large stockpot. Once the water comes to a boil, place the crabs onto the steamer basket, cover the pot, and cook for 12 minutes. Remove crabs with tongs and plunge into ice-cold water until cool enough to handle.
To clean the crabs, pull off the shell from the back. Reserve any liquid, which you can use to make crab stock. Discard the pale-greenish innards (tomalley) inside the shell, picking off parker pieces with your fingers, and running fresh cold water over what’s left. Pull off the gills, which look like pods that are barely attached at the sides of the crab. Use your hands to break off the mouth parts. Turn the crab over and pull off the triangular “apron.” Crack open harder shells with pliers or heavy-duty shellfish crackers—avoid mallets as they break up the meat. With kitchen shears, snip open the legs so you can gently pull or pick out the flesh.