Here in the low country, Blue Crabs abound. But what do you do with all of that crab meat? It is sweet stuff, but not served on the half shell like Dungeness or King Crab. You have to meticulously pick the crab from her tiny shells. So this will be the first in a series of crab adventures. Things you can do with this lovely little Low Country crustacean.
Make the sauce (below) this can be made up to a week in advance
Make basic filling using 1 pound of crab meat. Here is a primer on how to cook and pick the crabs. You can of course always go to your fish monger and get a pound of crab meat. It is available pasturized in cans. If you buy this, ask for lump meat.
Whip 2 large packages of cream cheese. Add them to the crab and thoroughly blend. Remove 1/3 of this mixture for crab rangoon, tomorrow’s treat.
Ingredients for Relleno Base:
3 ears of grilled Corn on the Cob, cut from the cob
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar, 1 cup of grated jack cheese
1/2 cup of fresh cojita cheese crumbles
2 red onions medium chop, sauteed and caramelized
Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic into the onions for the last 4 minutes of cooking.
3 green onions finely chopped
1/2 cup slow roasted grape tomatoes cut in quarters
Stir all of this together
Poblano Peppers (you can also use the smaller, thinner Anaheim Chile), slit clean and roasted then peel. This part can be tricky. I have learned that if you remove the seeds and membranes before putting them on the grill, they come out easier and there is less ripping of the pepper. Do this by making a T shaped cut, horizontally across the top and then one vertical slit from top to bottom. This picture is of Anaheim chiles on the grill. Whenever I grill peppers, I always retain few, usually ones that have torn to be used in sauces and fillings, or ropas. Once you roast your peppers on the grill or the open flame of your stove, place them in a plastic bag to steam. The skin will come off much easier then.
Allow the peppers to cool and then stuff with the filling. Bring the opening as close together as you can. Since there are only two of us and these are big peppers, I only made two. But you can certainly make at least 6 with this amount of filling. I am going to be making some other dishes with the filling.
(for two large peppers, double it for 4)
4 eggs, separated
3 Tablespoons cream
flour for dredging
about 1 inch of oil in a large frying pan
roll the peppers through the flour till coated
While the oil is heating, whip the egg whites & salt till they have stiff peaks. Whisk the yolks with the cream. Fold into the whites carefully.
When the oil is about 250 degrees, take a large spoon and put enough of the egg mixture into the oil to make a bed for the pepper. It will spread slightly. lay the pepper down, then cover with more egg mixture. After about 2 minutes carefully turn the pepper and cook on the other side till golden brown. Place on a drip pan and put in a warm oven while you continue the process.
Sauce and plate: You can choose any kind of sauce for this, but this is the one I made ahead of time. The base is something I use for enchiladas and other meals. I added cream and sherry to lighten this one up because the peppers and crab are so delicate.
New Mexico Rojo
1 cup New Mexico Red Chiles
2 tablespoons masa (finely ground)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chicken stock
Melt the butter in a saucepan, slowly stir in the masa, till a roux is formed. Whisk in the chicken broth and simmer. Allow to simmer for a while adding more stock as it thickens.
For the relleno sauce I then added 1 cup of cream and stirred for a while, letting it reduce a bit, then about 1/4 of Spanish sherry. Stir again and then turn off the heat.
Use a small plate with a good upturn to hold the sauce. Puddle the sauce on the plate, then add the relleno. Squiggle crema on top. Serve with a simple salad of radishes, pea shoots, pepitas and cojita.