12 Dec2006

crab1

We prefer to serve seafood appetizers because the centerpiece of a festive dinner at our home is usually a hunk of meat. We either have a lechon, a roast beef, a ham, roast pork, some lamb or veal so it is nice to start with something from the sea to balance crab2out the meal. Besides the shrimp cocktail in the previous post, another spectacular starter is a freshly made crab dip. This is a bit more labor intensive but the results are always greatly appreciated. To make, buy several kilos of very fresh alimasag or alimango and steam (not boil, the meat seems to get waterlogged) them until cooked. Let them cool. Peel the crabs and extract the meat. If you live in the West where you have a trustworthy fishmonger in your neighborhood that sells pre-peeled lump crabmeat for some outrageous sum, you are in luck but it will cost you…

Next mix up some mayonnaise from scratch or from a bottle, and add some lemon juice, a touch of good mustard and lots of chopped dill and salt and pepper to taste. Mix crab3this up and then add the crab meat and toss gently…making sure not to break up the larger lumps of crab meat more than you have to. Place in a small bowl and serve with toast points. This is an incredibly rich appetizer and a little goes a long way. Don’t fret if you only end up with a couple of cups of crab dip from several kilos of crabs… Our guests have always gushed over this starter. While labor intensive, it can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 hours before serving. If you are feeling particularly festive, you can serve both the shrimp cocktail and crab dip…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. millet says:

    yes, i find that blue crabs, or alimasag, are more manageable if you want lump crab meat – the shells are softer, the meat comes out in larger chunks it is easier to extract, and very often, it is sweeter.

    Dec 12, 2006 | 10:53 am

     
  2. nikka says:

    a friend of mine used to make this for her parties too, but instead of mayo, she used sour cream. delicious!

    Dec 12, 2006 | 11:13 am

     
  3. Jean says:

    I agree MM. This one is special for a festive meal. I will do the same for my Christmas party. Btw, do you have a recipe of a roast beef? Many thanks again.

    Dec 12, 2006 | 12:22 pm

     
  4. Maria Clara says:

    It is a well-planned dinner. Everything is coordinated. Your appetizers are the king of the sea – crabs and shrimps. I had a crab dip similar to yours at a bridal shower last month. I can taste cheese in the background like parmesan cheese or similar aged cheese. It was very good. Who would stand behind that crab dip? Everyone wants to get their hands on it. It is good until the last bite and finger licking too!

    Dec 12, 2006 | 1:42 pm

     
  5. sasha says:

    Hi MM that’s perfect!! My folks are serving up seafood for Christmas along with other culinary delights and I was trying to think of the perfect sauce or condiment to go with the prawns and you’ve come up with a great one. Think I might try this oldie but goodie. Meantime, got any suggestions as to what’s best to serve with lobster or crayfish? Much appreciated. Cheers!

    Dec 12, 2006 | 9:52 pm

     
  6. corrrine says:

    It can also be good to combine mayo and sour cream…say half-half? I LOVE dill! Will surely make crab dip this weekend. Hope I catch the full moon!

    Dec 14, 2006 | 12:05 am

     
  7. Marketman says:

    Millet, yes, alimasag is easier to work with for extracting meat. Nikka, the sour cream addition sounds healthier… Jean, roast beef recipe coming up in the next few days… Maria Clara, not sure what that cheese addition might be. Maybe a sharp cheddar or queso de bola? However, tradtionally, some cuisines don’t mix cheese and seafood. But then again, a tuna casserole has both… Sasha, if you make the cocktail sauce, a spritz of lemon juice also helps brighten the flavors, as a reader suggested in the previous post. For lobster or crayfish you might try a simple sauce of clarified butter by itself or clarified butter and lemon juice with chopped herbs such as Italian parsely… corrrine, I like your half and half suggestion, it sounds a bit healthier but with the richness of the mayo… I wonder if in practice it might not be unlike a food equivalent of being half pregnant?! :)

    Dec 14, 2006 | 5:59 am

     
 

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