Roasted Crab with Fennel and Orange

February 22nd, 2010  |  Published in All, Fantastic Fruits, Garlic, Honorable Herbs, Orange, Succulent Spices, Thyme, Weekend Projects  |  1 Comment

Roasted Crab with Fennel and Orange

Here it is, the end of Dungeness crab season and I am *finally* getting around to posting this delicious roasted crab recipe…  don’t walk… RUN to get the last of the dungeness before it is gone!  Tender, sweet, and oh so sustainable, dungeness crab is one of my favorite wintertime treats.

Typically when preparing crab, I opt for a very simple preparation — I warm the crab in a steamer then make a lemon butter sauce for dipping — simple and delicious.  But, sometimes it’s fun to be adventurous and try an unexpected combination.  Enter Ms. Shafia’s Roasted Crab with Fennel and Orange.

I first came across Louisa Shafia’s new cookbook Lucid Food while perusing the latest 10 Speed Press offerings.  With regards to cookbooks, they are tops.  A large percentage of my favorite cookbooks are published by 10 Speed Press (Super Natural Cooking, Asian Dumplings, Fat: A Misunderstood Ingredient, The River Cottage Meat Book, and the whole Moosewood series, to name a few…).  So, I guess it is no surprise that I am really enjoying this latest publication that has recipes ranging from down home american to out there asian interpretations (ginko nut dumplings with foraged ginkos!) to persian delicacies.

Anyhow, this cookbook is really lovely.  In its layout, it reminds me a bit of Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking (read: beautiful pictures, nice typography, overall beautiful layout), though the recipes have a focus on omnivorous eco-concious cooking instead of vegetarian cuisine.  It is divided by season, and stresses the use of locally available seasonal ingredients.

Some of the other recipes on my to-cook list are (mostly from the Fall and Winter sections… Summer seems too far away to read the chapter yet!):

– Buckwheat Crepes with Mashed Potatoes and Jack Cheese
– Amaranth Porridge with Fruit and Nuts
– Kale Salad with Avocado, Almonds, and Toasted Nori
– Pan-Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Mashed Parsnips
– Red Cabbage, Apple, and Dulse Salad
– Fesenjan (Chicken in Pomegranate Walnut Sauce)
– Fava Beans and Seared Zucchini with Garlicky Croutons
– Rhubarb and Pistachios over Thick Yogurt

Speaking of those foraged ginkos, I’ve noticed quite a few elderberry trees coming into bloom near my office.  Anyone have plans to make any elderflower creations?

Oven-Roasted Dungeness Crab with Fennel and Orange
Adapted from Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia
Serves 2

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T. dijon mustard
1/2 an orange, zested, then cut into supremes
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1 dungeness crab, cooked, cleaned, cracked, and split into halves or pieces
1 small shallot
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
3/4 c. dry white wine
1/4 c. orange juice
salt and pepper
1/2 lemon, quartered

Whisk together the garlic, 3 T. of the olive oil, the mustard, and orange zest.  Toss in 6 of the thyme sprigs.  Place crabs in a shallow baking dish and smear the garlic mixture all over them, working it into the cracks in the shell.  Set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Heat a large ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 T. olive oil.  Add the shallot and saute for 1 minute.  Add the fennel and the rest of the thyme and saute for 1 minute.  Pour in the wine and orange juice and bring to a boil.  Add salt to taste, decrease the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Uncover and simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Add the crab and all of the marinade to the pan and bring to a boil.  Taste the sauce and season as needed.  Cover the pan and put it in the oven for 5 minutes.  Baste the crab with the sauce and roast for 5 minutes more.  Take the pan out of the oven and carefully pour the sauce through a large strainer into a bowl.  Cover the crab to keep it warm.

Pour the sauce into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil.  Reduce the sauce, stirring often, for 4 minutes.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter.  To serve, divide the crab among the plates.  Pour the sauce over the crab and season with pepper.  Garnish with orange slices and a lemon quarter.  Serve with crusty bread and a tender green salad.  Enjoy!

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