We may have jelly fish in Cave Run Lake, but the closest we’ll ever get to a live crab in Eastern Kentucky is in an exhibit at the aquarium in Cincinnati. Or so I thought until the little buggers arrived on my doorstep.
Shipped direct from Breton Island near Nova Scotia via the AQUA BEST Fresh Seafood Market, two plump delectable snow crabs came to dinner (or err, to be dinner) on our farm. Naturally in honor of this memorable event, I had to put together a recipe fit for the occasion and decided to have a Maryland-style crab boil with a down-home twist. As such, Rural Mom’s Wicked-Good Kentucky Snow Crab Boil was invented.
But before we get cook’n, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of why fresh crabs in the Appalachias makes me giddy…
Even if you are a seafood aficionado, chances are you have never cooked a live snow crab, nor eaten one in a restaurant. Most snow crab is brined (soaked in a salt solution), or boiled in a sugar solution prior to delivery to a restaurant or your local fish market. And while those morsels are certainly still tasty, it’s like any other food upgrade, once you’ve tried the real thing, it’s a whole new level of ‘delectable-yum-in-your-tum’ awesomeness.
Taste-wise, it’s everything you would expect in a great snow crab dish, only fresher, plumper, and all-natural, unscathed by pre-prep solutions, allowing only the amazing pristine flavor to shine through.
It’s also mega-fun to pluck a live crab out of its shipping container…
And to let your boys arrange crab sumo wrestling pics after cooking. Just say’n…
To complement your snow crab boil, you could simply reach for a good ol’ BBC brew, but to truly raise the culinary bar, serve a good white wine like Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc (2011/New Zealand available via Pasternak Wine Imports.) Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, expressive pale wine with lifted stone fruit, citrus and tropical flavors. Lively and easy on the palate with a smooth finish, it won’t compete with the flavors of your crab boil, but will enhance them nicely.
All right, you have the basics, you have the wine, and so without further adieu or praise-singing of the delights of cooking with live snow crab, I will leave you with this:
Cooking live snow crab via steaming, boiling, grilling, baking or however you wish is enough on it’s own. The crab really doesn’t need much, its taste is stellar on its own merits. But, should you want to do something a little jazzier and out-of-the-southern-ordinary, use the following recipe to inspire a down home crab boil in your Rural Mom kitchen.
Rural Mom’s Wicked-Good Kentucky Snow Crab Boil
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
• 2 AQUA BEST Live Snow Crabs
• 4 Ears of Corn (halved)
• 12-15 New Red Potatoes
• 2 lbs Fresh Peel n Eat Shrimp (medium size)
• ½ cup White Vinegar
• 2 Bay Leaves
• ½ cup Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
• 4 Cloves of Garlic (crushed)
• 1 tbsp Celery Seed
• 1 tbsp Italian Seasonings
• 1 tbsp Basil
• 1 tbsp Oregano
• 1 tsp Red Pepper
• 1tbsp Kosher Salt
Prior to boil, set up two large strainers and an extra-large cookie sheet covered with butcher paper. As an alternative to the cookie sheet, you can spread several layers of newspaper over your kitchen or picnic table for an authentic crab boil setting.
Fill a large stock pot (32 quart aka turkey fryer) a little over half full with water. Add vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, and spices. Bring to a boil.
Add corn and new red potatoes. Keep at a steady boil for 15 minutes.
Add live snow crab. Keep at a steady boil for an additional 10 minutes.
Add shrimp. Keep at a steady boil for additional 3 minutes.
Remove from heat. Drain immediately using strainers. Dump strained snow crab boil onto cookie sheet.
Optional: Sprinkle Lawry’s Seasoned Salt over crab boil.
Be prepared to get messy, serve, and enjoy!
Additional Tips: Change the recipe, as you see fit, to suit your taste…
- Add a little Tuscan or Mexican spice to change up the flavor
- Add pre-cooked Italian or Beef Sausage to the mix (add to boil with the crab)
- Add 1 beer, 1 cup of white wine, or even a ½ cup of bourbon (it’s a little anti-Kentucky to water your whiskey, but…) to create new all new experience
- Swap the corn for baby carrots, or better yet, cook both!
- Substitute Old Bay Seasoning for Lawry’s Salt (or use another favorite seasoning salt)
- Swap the Lawry’s Salt with a Hickory Salt or another flavor-infused salt you enjoy
Aqua Best Seafood ships gourmet fish, lobster, shellfish, and unique caviar products around the globe. Best known for their work with Dorothy Hamilton and the French Culinary Institute, they’ve spearheaded the charge to educate both consumers and chefs about Fourchu Lobster, and the differences between fresh and traditional frozen seafood products. For more information, or to order, go to Aquabestnyc.com.
Based in Harrison, NY, Pasternak Wine Imports distributes nationally with a wide variety of both price range and selection. With products like Baron de Rothschild’s Chilean Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc, Chateâu La Nerth Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, and Le Jaja de Jau Syrah Rosé, their portfolio is diverse, and can please nearly every wine lover’s palate. For more information, go to Pasternakwine.com.
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Disclosure: Product samples provided by AquaBest Seafood, Pasternak Imports, and in conjunction with the Crave Local Network. All thoughts and opinions are solely that of Rural Mom.