As I said in the last posting, for Ariella’s birthday we opted to eat at home, and I have to say it was a better choice. I guess she really likes my cooking !!
For this year, the birthday girl had requested fresh prawns and unfortunately the season is over. I went to a couple of places and could not find them so we had to settle on Dungeness crab instead. It so happened that there was a huge sale on, and I was able to get big fresh meaty ones, and most importantly the guy at the counter was willing to kill the beasts for me. It is definitely no fun trying to catch them while they run away from you on the kitchen counter!
When the girls were young, we loved to eat at the Crab Pot in the Seattle Public Market, it was on our itinerary whenever we went to Seattle. We would order a big pot of boiled seafood, and ate them with our bare hands. I loved how they just dumped the whole pot on to our tables and they would give us these horrendous looking plastic bibs to wear. Honestly the seafood was not that good since it was mass-produced and I often found they were very over cooked.
For this special date, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and made Cajun crab boil just like what we used to have at Crab Pot. I found the recipe for the seasoning from cdkitchen, I had tweaked the recipe a little and boiled the seasoning in the pot for almost an hour, I wanted to make sure to get all the flavor out in the water before boiling the seafood.
The key to making a successful crab boil is in the timing. Every single ingredient is cooked differently, I put in the potatoes first, and then the corn. The sausages went in about the same time. The crab was the first batch of seafood to go into the pot, followed by the clams and finally the prawns. I had to keep an eye and make sure they were not too over done. Just before I served them , I had sprinkled some Cajun spices for presentation. You can get bottled spices in most grocery stores. The end result was quite satisfactory, my dinner guests loved it. They ended up polishing three bottles of wine…woohoo. Maybe that was the reason why the enjoyed the dinner.
This is a fun dinner to make, and definitely it is something I will make again for dinner parties whenever I can get fresh seafood. Yup, it is all in the freshness.
4 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons whole allspice
2 tablespoons dill seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
8 bay leaves
Salt and cayenne pepper (or liquid hot sauce) to taste
Combine all dry ingredients thoroughly. Place in a square of muslin or cheesecloth and tie securely with string, like a large sachet d’ipices. Add salt and cayenne or hot sauce to taste. When water for seafood is boiling, add the bag and boil for several minutes, until the boiling liquid is tinted and seasoned, then add shellfish and cook until done, depending on what you’re using.