Here are some recipes for a selection of crustaceans:
Soft-shelled crabs with scallions, mint, tomatoes
Makes 2 servings.
A warm-weather dish Marylanders should love, this recipe is from "Pleasures of the Good Earth," a collection of natural seasonal recipes by Edward Giobbi, to be published this month by Alfred A. Knopf.
4 live soft-shelled crabs
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped tomatoes
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
hot pepper flakes to taste (optional)
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt to taste
Clean soft-shelled crabs, wash and pat dry. (Or have the fishmonger clean them for you.)
In a medium skillet heat the oil until hot. Add the garlic and cook, uncovered, until it begins to take on color. Add the tomatoes, scallions, mint and hot pepper flakes (if using), cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the wine, cover, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the crabs and salt to taste, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes in all (4 minutes on each side). Serve the crabs at once on heated plates.
Makes 6 servings.
This version of the bayou dish (familiar from the Hank Williams classic, "Jambalaya") comes from "Justin Wilson's Homegrown Louisiana Cookin' " (Macmillan, 1990). A mirliton (or chayote or vegetable pear) is a type of summer squash, and is available in some supermarkets or Asian, West Indian or Hispanic food stores.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup peeled and chopped mirliton (chayote)
1 cup fish stock or water
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound crawfish tails, peeled and deveined
salt to taste
Louisiana hot sauce or ground cayenne pepper to taste
1 9-inch pie shell and top, unbaked
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then stir in the flour to make a roux. Add the green onions, parsley, mushrooms and chayote, and cook until the onions and mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the stock and garlic, and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the crawfish, salt and hot sauce, and mix well.
Pour this mixture into the pie shell and cover it. Pinch the edge to form a seal, the punch holes in the top to vent. Bake for 1 hour until the crust is golden brown.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
This lobster stew is, naturally, a product of Maine, and is a specialty of the Black Point Inn, a seaside summer hotel in Prouts Neck. The recipe can be found in the new "The Great Country Inns of America Cookbook," by James Stroman, recently published by Bob Adams Inc.
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon paprika
pinch of nutmeg
1 pound cooked lobster meat
1 quart milk
1 quart light cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry (more if desired)
Melt the butter in a heavy pot; add the paprika, nutmeg and lobster. Cook slowly for 10 minutes. Heat the milk and cream (do not boil) and add to the lobster. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Worcestershire. Add sherry to taste just before serving.
Broiled lobster tails with dill-lime butter
Makes 4 servings.
"The Health-Lover's Guide to Super Seafood," by Tom Ney, food editor of Prevention magazine (Rodale Press, 1989), was the source of this recipe. The spiral-bound book emphasizes the nutrition benefits of seafood, and provides low-fat, heart-healthy recipes; the following dish, for all its luxury, contains only 157 calories a serving.
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon snipped dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 frozen lobster tails (8 ounces each), thawed
In a small bowl, combine butter, oil, lime juice, dill and paprika. Stir to blend thoroughly.
Split lobster tails down the back. Brush lobster meat with 1/2 tablespoon dill-lime butter, coating evenly. Heat remaining butter in a small saucepan over low heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
Place lobster tails on a broiler pan, meat side up, and broil 4 inches or less from heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned.
To serve, pour heated butter over tails and garnish with lime wedges and fresh dill.
Fried langoustines with vegetables
Makes 2 servings.
If you are lucky enough to find langoustines, you might try this recipe from the new American edition of "Larousse Gastronomique" (published by Crown), the famous culinary encyclopedia.
1 carrot, peeled
4 large mild onions, peeled
8 large langoustines
2 1/4 cups flour
1 or 2 ice cubes, crushed
2 egg whites, beaten into stiff peaks
vegetable oil, for frying
Cut carrot and zucchini into matchsticks. Cut onions into large round slices. Shell the tails of the langoustines.
Prepare a batter by mixing flour with a little water and the ice cubes. Add egg whites.