Crabs - Defined, Varieties and Recipes

Crabs—Area delectable shellfish. In this country we use for food two kinds, the hard shell blue crab which periodically sheds its shell, thus giving us the "soft shell crab" and the oyster crab.

The male crab has a long white, narrow tail turned round its under part, the female has a broad brownish, feathery tail. The centre of the body is filled with its liver, which is a soft yellow substance. The meat used is obtained from the inner top of the back, and the claws.

Crab meat is tasty but comparatively poor in nutriment and very hard to digest. There is one firm in this country " McMenamin of Hampton, Virginia," who for years past have made a specialty of putting up fresh cooked crab meat in cans, supplying with each can a sufficient number of shells to hold the amount of meat. They are obtainable of leading grocers everywhere, and from personal experience of their use, the author can say that he has found their crab meat give perfect satisfaction to hotel patrons.

CRAB CAKES—Cooked crab meat four parts, fresh bread crumbs one part, mixed and seasoned with salt, nutmeg, red pepper, and chopped parsley, and bound with raw egg yolks; made into cakes like "codfish cakes " then breaded and fried; served with cream or Hollandaise sauces.

CRAB TOAST—Cooked crab meat sautéed with butter, seasoned with salt, nutmeg and red pepper; served piled high on slices of hot buttered toast.

BUTTERED CRAB — Cooked crab meat cut small, two parts; fresh bread crumbs, one part; mixed and seasoned with a littlel chopped parsley, salt, red pepper, nutmeg, caper vinegar and melted butter, then packed into crab shells, sprinkled with bread crumbs, then melted butter, browned in hot oven and served.

CRAB SAUSAGES—Cooked crab meat seasoned with chervil, a suspicion of garlic, salt, red pepper and minced chives, the whole pounded, rubbed through a sieve, bound with raw yolks of eggs, formed into shapes of sausages, rolled in flour, fried a delicate brown with butter; served with tartar sauce.

CRAB FRITTERS —Cooked crab meat finely minced, mixed with a little minced fried onion, a suspicion of garlic, seasoned with salt, pepper, nutmeg, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce and chopped parsley, all boiled down in a Vélonté sauce till thick; then is worked in a few beaten egg yolks, removed and poured into a buttered pan and allowed to become cold; then cut in finger slices, dipped into a thin frying batter, fried; served with tartar sauce.

CRAB CANAPES—Minced cooked crab meat mixed with a little finely minced fried shallots, seasoned with salt, red pepper and grated Parmesan cheese, boiled down thick with a rich Vélouté sauce, allowed to cool, then spread on fancy shapes of toast, the meat then strewn with grated cheese, browned off in hot oven and served.

CRAB OMELET—The preceding mixture while still hot enclosed in centre of omelet; served with Vélouté sauce poured around.

CRAB SALAD—Cooked crab meat cut fine, seasoned with oil, tarragon vinegar, salt and red pepper mixed with a little finely shred and minced white cabbage; served on a leaf of lettuce, garnished with shred lettuce, stuffed olives, and slices of hard boiled eggs.

CRAB STEW—Cooked crab meat seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg, made hot in a rich Béchamel sauce; served in cases or croustades, the top sprinkled with parsley dust.

CRAB, QUEEN STYLE—Cold cooked crab meat in shreds three parts, finely shred hearts of celery one part, mixed, seasoned with tarragon vinegar, olive oil, salt and red pepper, filled into crab shells, masked with mayonnaise, decorated with small shapes of hard boiled eggs, lobster coral and sliced stuffed olives, (called CRAB à la REINE).

EMINCE OF CRAB -Shredded cooked crab meat seasoned with salt, red pepper, dash of Worcestershire sauce and caper vinegar, mixed with a little Parmesan cheese, tossed and thoroughly heated in a sautoir with butter; served on hot buttered toast, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

DEVILED CRABS—Cooked crab meat mixed with minced whites of hard boiled eggs and the yolks rubbed through a sieve, seasoned with salt, red pepper, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce and tarragon vinegar; made hot with a good allowance of melted butter, filled into shells, smoothed, strewn with sifted bread crumbs, browned off in the oven and served very hot. Some cooks have a habit of mixing the crab meat with a highly seasoned sauce instead of the directions just given, with the result that if not all served at the one meal, they go flat when cold; and look unsightly and unserviceable when reheated.

SCALLOPED CRABS—The deviled crab mixture of the preceding moistened with Vélouté sauce, filled into crab or scallop shells, or small oval deep dishes, strewn with grated cheese and melted butter, browned in hot oven and served.

BAKED CRABS—Minced shallots, thinly sliced mushrooms lightly fried together with butter, into which is then mixed cooked crab meat, truffle trimmings, chopped parsley, salt, red pepper and a little Vélonté sauce; filled into large crab shells, strewn with fresh sifted bread crumbs, browned in oven, served hot.

CRABS, CREOLE STYLE—Live hard shell crabs, fish-kettle with separate perforated bottom, under which is poured white wine vinegar seasoned with salt and red pepper; live crabs placed on the false bottom, lid of kettle placed on tightly, kettle put over a good fire; when crabs are of a bright red color, taken up and served at once with the under shell separated.

CROUSTADE OF CRABS—Cooked crab meat santéed with minced shallots in butter, seasoned with salt, red pepper and caper vinegar, moistened and heated with sauce Normande, filled into bread or paste croustades; served very hot.

CRAB FORCEMEAT—Cooked crab meat finely minced with chervil, chives and a small clove of garlic, seasoned with salt, red pepper and caper vinegar, pounded, then rubbed through a fine sieve, bound with raw egg yolks. Set aside for use.

CRAB CROQUETTES—Crab forcemeat made into shapes, breaded, fried; served with sauce Joinville.

CRAB KROMESKIES—Cold crab forcemeat rolled into size and shape of a finger, bound with a thin slice of cold boiled bacon, pinned with a toothpick, dipped into a plain batter, fried, toothpick removed, served with tartar sauce.

STUFFED CRAB—Cooked crab meat seasoned with tarragon vinegar, curry powder, salt and red pepper, slightly moistened with Vélouté sauce, filled into shells, strewn with sifted bread crumbs, baked; served very hot.

TOMATOES STUFFED WITH CRAB—Raw peeled tomatoes of an even size, hollowed out, seeds removed, the outside then covered with crab forcemeat, and the inside filled with devilled crab mixture, smoothed off, rolled in sifted bread crumbs, baked and basted with butter; served very hot.

CRAB SAUCE—Cooked crab meat minced with a few mushrooms, seasoned with nutmeg, salt, red pepper and lemon juice, simmered in Béchamel sauce for a few minutes; chopped parsley may be added if desired.

CRAB GUMBO (soup)—Very small squares of raw lean ham fried a delicate brown with minced onion or shallots and crab meat, flour added to form a roux, moistened with equal parts of courtbouillon and chicken broth, brought to the boil, skimmed; shred green peppers, sliced okras and peeled and sliced tomatoes then added, simmered for an hour, seasoned with salt, red pepper, herbs and white wine, a spoonful of dry boiled rice placed in each plate at time of serving.

BISQUE OF CRABS—Live crabs blanched as for "Creole style," meat removed and lightly fried with minced shallots and a clove of garlic in butter, moistened with fish broth and white wine, brought to the boil, shells then added with some well washed rice; when rice is cooked, little roux added, the whole then rubbed through a tam is or purée seive, brought to the boil again, skimmed, seasoned with salt, red pepper and sherry wine; served with small croutons.

BISQUE OF CRABS, CREOLE STYLE—Boil half a pound of rice to each gallon of soup required, when done add its equal weight of cooked crab meat, pound to a paste, adding half a cupful of melted butter and a flavor of nutmeg, then rub it through a purée sieve; make the soup stock of thin Vélouté sauce, add the rice and crab purée, bring to a simmer, then add sliced okras, minced red and green peppers, sliced peeled tomatoes, season with thyme, marjoram, red pepper and lemon juice, simmer slowly for one hour and serve.

BOILED SOFT SHELL CRABS—Live crabs with small claws and sand pouch removed, dropped into boiling salted water and simmered for ten minutes; served with Vélouté or parsley sauces.

SOFT SHELL CRABS FRIED—Live crabs with sand pouch removed, seasoned with salt and pepper, dipped in milk, rolled in flour, then in beaten eggs and again bread crumbs, fried in deep fat or slowly in butter; served with tartar sauce, or with mayonnaise, garnished with parsley and lemon.

SOFT SHELL CRABS BROILED—Prepared and breaded as in the preceding, placed between a double hinged wire broiler, broiled and basted with butter; served with tartar sauce, garnished with parsley and lemon.

CURRIED SOFT SHELL CRABS—Take the very small ones and boil them a few minutes, then sauté them with minced onion in butter, take up, and put into curry sauce, simmer a few minutes; served with a border of boiled rice in grains.

SOFT SHELL CRABS STEAMED—Live crabs with the small claws and sand pouch removed, placed on false bottom of fish kettle containing vinegar and water underneath; steamed ten minutes, served with Béchamel sauce.

OYSTER CRABS, SAUCE POULETTE—Well washed oyster crabs sautéed with butter, seasoned with salt and pepper, moistened with Hollandaise sauce sharp with lemon juice, add a little chopped parsley; take a small oval platter, pipe a border of potato croquette mixture around the edge, brush it with butter and brown it off in the oven or under a salamander; serve the oyster crabs in the center.

OYSTER CRABS FRIED—Oyster crabs well washed and drained, seasoned with salt and pepper, tossed in flour, thrown into cold milk, then into sifted bread crumbs, fried in hot deep grease like whitebait, taken up, drained, sprinkled with salt; served in cases or croustades.

OYSTER CRAB PATTIES—Make the "oyster crabs, sauce Poulette" above, fill small puff paste patty shells with the mixture; serve with some Poulette sauce around the base.

OYSTER CRABS, NEWBURG—Well washed and drained oyster crabs sautéed in butter for five minutes with some truffle trimmings, then is added some Madèira wine, reduce to one half, then work in a liaison of egg yolks and cream, shuffle about till thick and creamy; serve either in a tureen or chafing dish.

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