Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Makes Me Crabby Week: Crabmeat Indienne

I'm completely wiped out today, so I'll keep this one short and sweet - and include the explanation for my fatigue at a later time. Instead, let's talk a little of "what's in a name." Shakespeare makes a fairly compelling case that what something is called does not affect its inherent values. But names definitely lead us to expectations. I wouldn't expect something called an "orange" to be purple in color. Likewise, I would expect a dish called "Spicy chicken" to be, well, spicy. In "Can-Can" Frank Sinatra makes a similar observation - "I once knew a girl who had the nerve to call herself Virginia!"

Today's crab recipe is named Crabmeat Indienne. And do you know what makes this recipe "Indienne" my friends? Well, that's easy! It's the inclusion of curry powder!

Honestly, I would consider this dish much more "curried crab" than an Indian dishes I've ever had. It lacks the complexity of flavors of most Indian dishes. The balance of spices with a buttery sweetness. So I was disappointed in it. It didn't meet my expectations because what's in a name does matter. So I present it to you with all pretenses pulled. Don't pay attention to the name and see if you enjoy this crabmeat with curry.

And because I want to be perfectly up front with what you're eating, no fancy name for the rice, just good ole rice cooked with saffron, raisins, and pine nuts. This is a recipe I've used often with couscous, and thought "huh, bet it would be good with rice too." It is. I love raisins and pinenuts in pretty much everything. The only other addition I would suggest is some feta, but I didn't know how that would work with a crab main dish.

Crabmeat Indienne (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups crabmeat
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook over low heat for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Stir the flour and curry powder into the skillet and cook 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the chicken broth slowly and cook and stir for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the crabmeat and cook only until heated through.

Saffron Rice with raisins and pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/8 tsp crumbled saffron
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Saute the onion in the butter about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the rice and stir, cooking just long enough to coat the rice, 2 or 3 minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock to rice and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove 1/4 cup of the hot liquid and pour over saffron. Let steep 5 minutes, then add back in to the boiled chicken stock.
  5. Pour rice and stock into a 1 qt. casserole and stir in rice and pine nuts. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, or until all the stock is absorbed.