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Cooking with Rebecca Bent

Friday, November 28, 2008

Spice up rice with seafood

seafood paella dishI love to spice up my rice with delicious and healthy seafood, I find this especially useful around the holidays--it's an easy dish that can be adjusted based on what you have available. Below I prepare this recipe with clams, but you could certainly do this with crabmeat, lobster meat, fish, oysters ... almost any type of seafood would be perfect.

Fancy Seafood Rice
2 to 3 cups uncooked rice
optional: 1 tablespoon Spanish Rice seasoning (may be called paella)
1 bunch live clams, scrubbed clean
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup white wine
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
optional: 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt to taste

First start out by cooking the rice according to the manufacturer's instructions. Usually, 1 cup of rice requires 1½ cups of water and cooks for 20 minutes. I recommend preparing 2 cups of rice. If you like Spanish rice seasoning, add it now to the rice before it is cooked.

When the rice has 5 minutes left to cook, prepare the seafood.

Place the scrubbed clams into a medium sauce pot over medium high heat. Add in the chicken broth, white wine, minced garlic, chopped red bell peppers, parsley, and optional butter. Cook everything together with a tightly fitted lid until the clam shells open, or about 2 to 3 minutes. Once they do, turn off the heat. Discard any clams that did not open.

By now the rice should be finished cooking. Transfer the rice into a large bowl along with the clams and all its juices. Toss everything together until it is well combined. Taste and correct with salt. I recommend about ½ teaspooon of salt. Serve immediately.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Seafood Croquettes: warm bites prepared any way you like them

Croquettes can be created from your favorite ingredients and once you learn the technique, it’s easy. I like to use a food processor to mix my croquettes; it saves a lot of hand chopping time. In this recipe, I use shrimp, but you could also try: scallops, tuna, salmon, rockfish, cooked lobster meat or even my favorite...crabmeat!

Croquettes can be assembled ahead of time and frozen. If you are baking from a frozen state simply add another minute or two until they are cooked through.

I suggest making a dipping sauce on the side. If you like hummus, that's a great place to start, but the sky is the limit here and so be playful in the kitchen. Other great options are a mixture of equal parts tartar sauce and cocktail sauce to create my favorite: sunset sauce.

Shrimp Croquettes
Makes 6 servings, 2 croquettes per serving

For the fried croquettes:
¾ pound fresh raw shrimp, shelled and deveined and roughly chopped
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1½ cups cooked white rice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup of your favorite finely chopped fresh herbs (I suggest: cilantro, flat leaf parsley, curly parsley chives, chervil)
2 eggs, whisked
2 cups olive oil

For the coating:
1½ cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro (or your favorite herb)

For the sauce:
¾ cup store-bought Hummus
1 tablespoon chili sauce

In a food processor combine the shrimp, cheese, cheese, rice, garlic, salt, cilantro, and eggs and pulse until a paste is formed. Scoop out the shrimp mixture and make 12 equal balls, or about 1 heaping tablespoon each.

In a small shallow bowl pour in the breadcrumbs and cilantro and mix.

Pour the olive oil in a medium sauce pan and heat it to 350F.

Meanwhile, dip the croquettes into the breadcrumbs (roll it around until it is well coated) and place them on a clean plate.

Fry the croquettes in batches in the olive oil for about 2 minutes or until they turn golden brown. The croquettes should be completely submerged. Also, make sure to carefully move them around in the oil so they fry evenly. When they are done, remove the croquettes from the oil and place them on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.

While the croquettes are frying prepare the Hummus dipping sauce by combing the hummus and the chili sauce and mixing until blended.

Serve the croquettes warm with the dipping sauce. If you really like it spicy, just adjust the sauce to taste.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Easy Bake King Crab Legs: Done in 30 minutes

This past weekend I received an impromptu call from a few friends that they were planning to stop over. Knowing that they were expecting to nibble on something when they arrived, I looked in my frig and freezer to see what I could quickly prepare.

Sure I had a few frozen crab cakes--and I know they do love them--but I wanted to prepare something that required a little more hands on effort.

So, I selected a few clusters of king crab legs and boy, I was glad that I did.

30 minutes later when the door bell rang (and you can hear it in the video) the house smelled wonderful. As I greeted my friends with a big hug, I also handed them paper bibs. Surprised and delighted they sat down to was delicious!

Easy Bake King Crab Legs are the perfect snack or meal (depending on how many you eat!) I like to prepare mine with roasted garlic, chopped sweet pepper, butter, olive oil, and parsley. The toppings can be whatever you like and just make sure to serve the king crab legs with plenty of napkins.

Easy Bake King Crab Legs
Makes 2 servings
¼ cup-store bought roasted minced garlic
optional: ½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces diced tomatoes or sweet red peppers
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds king crab legs, cracked or cut open for easy picking
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sliced rustic country bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large Dutch oven or in a casserole dish, add the crab legs. In a small bowl combine the roasted garlic, wine, butter, tomatoes, parsley, and salt and mix well. Drizzle the mixture over the king crab legs and then drizzle the olive oil.

Bake the king crab legs for 15 to 20 minutes or until piping hot. Remove the king crab legs from the oven and baste them with the liquid from the pan.

Serve immediately with the liquid in a deep bowl with bread for dipping.


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Monday, November 10, 2008

Crabmeat Omelet: the perfect way to start the day

Crabmeat Omelets are a great way to start the day. This recipe is simple, but anything can be included along with the crabmeat just minutes before covering the pan to melt the cheese. Just be sure whatever you do decide to add is at room temperature.

This is also perfect tucked in-between two slices of bread for a crabmeat egg omelet sandwich! And there's probably enough to make two sandwiches, if you feel like sharing...

½ tablespoon veggie oil
2 large eggs, whisked in a small metal bowl until frothy
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup backfin crabmeat

Slick a small non-stick omelet pan with the oil and place it over medium heat. When the pan is hot, pour in the eggs, swirl the pan to create an even layer of eggs, and let them cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, cheese, and crabmeat.

Cover the pan for about 1 minute to melt the cheese. With a rubber spatula, loosen the omelet from the pan and fold in half while sliding it from the pan directly onto a warm plate. Serve immediately. Yummy!


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Monday, November 3, 2008

Tailgating Supreme Crab Dip

This crab dip is delicious for tailgating parties and can be warmed on the grill with a loose piece of foil tented over the top. It's even great served at room temperature.

Make sure not to overcook this dip, or the cheese may separate and burn. Since the crabmeat is already cooked, the dip needs to be baked only long enough to melt the cheese. Fold in the crabmeat at the last possible moment to avoid breaking it up too much. This dish may be prepared in advance, refrigerated, and baked just before serving.

Tailgating Supreme Crab Dip
Makes 6 servings

1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped pimientos
8 crushed no-salt saltine crackers
2 teaspoons seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, optional
1 pound backfin crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage (to purchase, click here)
20 crackers or freshly sliced country bread

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cheese, mayonnaise, pimientos, crackers, seafood seasoning, and parsley. Mix until well combined. Carefully fold in the crabmeat and gently mix just until the crab is coated. Spoon the mixture into a medium gratin or casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately with a butter knife for spreading the dip on the toast points or sliced country bread.


Blogger Lynne Daley said...

The crab dip looks very tasty. I am responding to a comment left here asking if I would be interested in being a guest blogger. I am very interested in doing so. Thanks.

November 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM  

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