Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kitchen Based Musings

I have recently learned to cook soft shell crabs.

Hell, to be more honest, it has barely been more than a year since I actually started cooking.  Thankfully, I've discovered among the many dishes I have gradually learned to do better that there are two dishes that I can do pretty well.  Both dishes were staples that I used to always order with my partner at this restaurant called Fish and Co.

Fish Fillet with chips.
Soft shell crab salad.

Fish Fillet is quite easy now that one can buy Cream Dory fillet in a supermarket.  With just a light seasoning of salt and pepper, then an egg to bind flour to it and you got a dish ready for pan frying fun.

Soft shell crab on the other hand takes a bit more effort.  Having been able to toss my partner and myself a salad when the urge was there, I decided a few days ago to take a stab at actually making soft shell crab salad.  I had discovered that Shopwise sold alfalfa in a generous amount for its price, and with the balsamic vinaigrette salads I've been making, the idea of being able to add to it a soft shell crab was something I could not resist.  I mean, how hard could it be right?

It turns out, creating a soft shell crab salad does require a strong determination to accomplish the task.   Well, at least it did for someone like me.   I discovered Shopwise also sold soft shell crabs in the frozen Japanese section for Php250 a box (which had four crabs) and while I was letting two of them thaw, I decided to surf the net for any tips on how to cook the sucker.

Soft shell crabs, it turned out, need to be cleaned before cooking.
Oh my lord.
Lemme explain that reaction  by letting you watch the video I viewed.

OH MY GOD.  Yes.  They cut off those parts and the FACE while the crab is still alive.
Alive!  Do you read me?!??!
I don't pretend to be an animal rights activist or anything, but seriously couldn't they have at least killed the crab properly first before cutting those parts off and cooking it?

This video kinda hit me bad.  And even though I was working with long dead frozen crabs, I found myself feeling sad for the fellers as I took the kitchen shears and snipped the faces off.  I felt their firm bodies in my hand and hated how my brain could still imagine them squirming and struggling in dying agony.


It is interesting how you don't even need to season the crabs much.  Just roll them in flour that has been seasoned a bit with black pepper and paprika, and that's it, it is ready for frying.

So yeah, the salad was delicious!  Very easy to prepare and well worth the effort.  I'm certain certain chefs and foodies out there have loads of suggestions for me (like how to better prepare the crab, or what is a better way to season things, etc) but ultimately what matters is being able to cook something my partner and I will enjoy.

I just wish I didn't find myself stopping each time I had to clean the crab and remembering how somewhere out there, some of these poor things have to get "cleaned" before they even die.  


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