Friday, June 1, 2012

The Seafood - Crab en Brochette

I think I talked before about my seven course dinner plan.  If not, here it is:

First Course - Appetizer
Second Course - Soup
Third Course - Fish
Fourth Course - Palate Cleanser
Fifth Course - Entree
Sixth Course - Salad
Seventh Course - Dessert

This is my game plan for most of my dinner parties.  It's just easier to work within a framework.  The Complete Space Needle dinner that you could order at the restaurant had only three courses.  But there were so many choices!  I couldn't decide!  So, I ended up with two fish courses because I love Dungeness crab, and it happens to be Copper River salmon season.

Crab en Brochette with Bearnaise Sauce

Crab wrapped in Bacon? Gotta have it!
For the brochettes

1 pound lump crabmeat, picked clean (I highly recommend Dungeness crab if you can get it)
1 cup butter crackers, crushed (recommended: Ritz)
3 scallions, tops and whites finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 T Sherry wine
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
9 slices bacon, cut in half to make 18 pieces

Mix all ingredients except bacon.  Form crab mixture into walnut sized balls.  Wrap each with 1/2 slice bacon.  Place in baking dish, with the cut side of the bacon down.  If you want to use a toothpick to hold it together you can, but I didn't need to.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.  Meanwhile, make the Bearnaise sauce.

Bearnaise Sauce

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
4 white peppercorns, crushed
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne

Combine shallots, tarragon, peppercorns, vinegar and wine in a small saucepan.  Simmer until liquid has reduced to about 1/4 cup.  Strain out solids and reserve liquid.  Add liquid to egg yolks in a blender.  Heat butter until butter is melted and quite hot.  Add to blender mixture while blender is running,  slow and steady.  Blend until thickened.  Add salt and cayenne. 

To serve, arrange crab brochettes on plate and top with about 1/4 cup of sauce.

Due to the high cost of the crab, I didn't practice this recipe beforehand.  My sauce did not turn out quite as thick as I would like.  In retrospect, I probably should have blended it a bit longer.  Hey, if I tell you about my mistakes, you won't make the same ones, right?  At least I hope not!  The flavor was great, however!  This was my favorite dish of the night.  You could maybe get by with a cheaper form of crab, since there are a lot of flavors going on.  But if you can afford it, spring for the Dungeness.  There is nothing better.  Use a high quality bacon.  I used bacon that I bought at the Butcher Shop Cafe.  Excellent!

The wine served was 2011 Domaine Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois Vin de Table.   

I found this wine very interesting.  It was a light red wine, with almost a vinegary tang to it.  It was intriguing, and cut through the richness of the sauce nicely.  It paired very well with the smokiness of the bacon.  An excellent pairing!

Tomorrow, another fish course.

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