Cascadian Crab Boil

Meat, Seafood

When it comes to food, I usually take it in strides. Most days I’m whimsical. I cook whatever I have laying around the kitchen mixed with some seasonal vegetables. Sometimes, I’m not so decisive and I can’t even figure out what to eat for dinner, and I spend yet another night with a big bowl of popcorn.

But crab is an exception. I look forward to the crab season every year. It’s one of those foods so marinated in nostalgia that no adulterant or flavor could conceal its triggers: the briny aroma of the Puget Sound on an early morning, the pink-orange sun rising over blackish Olympic Mountains, severing white-grey cloud-wisps; the jubilee and cramps and cold, wet fingers while reeling up the crab pots, in anxious hope of trapping a treasure; and, the jitters and eagerness in maneuvering around the claws to get the crab at just the perfect angle so as to clench it, jiggle it out, and drop it in the cooler.

Crabbing isn’t only my tradition, though. It’s a tradition of this whole region called Cascadia. We have festivals for them in towns small and large. We serve them from aerated tanks at supermarkets, on ice from the farmers markets, and on a plate or in a bowl at restaurants. But the most memorable way for me, and for many others, is scattered on newspaper with lots of butter and lemons.

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Lobster Bisque (Bisque de Homard)

Seafood, Soups & Stews

Traditionally a bisque is a thick and creamy soup with a base of mirepoix and shellfish served with the diced meat of the latter. Right now, our beloved New England lobsters are on sale at one of the markets I shop at: an astounding $7.99/lb.!

With the temperature dropping, becoming as cold as the sea nearby, and the climate drying up before the rains begin to pelt us, nothing sounds better than to cozy up in my warm apartment with a bowl of steaming lobster bisque.

I cannot emphasize how incredible this soup is. It is the perfect balance of flavors–a touch of sweetness, a well-mannered but full-bodied saltiness with a succulent savory finish–the prize being the true essence of lobster that lingers in the mouth well after the last bite.