17 May 2008
Dinner, at Least
My goodness, has it been so long? I certainly did not mean to leave you for over a week without a recipe. It seems I’ve been spending most of my time at work lately, and while I truly love my job, too much time behind a computer screen makes me less inclined to want to face one during my time off. But I’ve actually missed you all in a funny sort of way, like extended guests at my own little table.
I’m afraid what I have to offer you as consulation isn’t anything that’s unique or innovative or something you haven’t seen before. It did, however, make up my much-deserved late night dinner twice this week, and is perhaps one of the better quintessential spring-time dinners I can think of. Best of all the whole thing is ready in about twenty minutes start-to-finish.
Roast asparagus is probably one of my quintessntial spring time dishes. Just like I eat plate after plate of tomatoes in summer and butternut squash in fall, I make roast asparagus for weeks on end when the weather finally warms up. I really never tire of it. Sure, you can dress the asparagus up with splash of balsmaic vinegar or a bit of lemon zest or the tiniest shavings of cheese, but I’m perfectly happy with just good old plain. Sometimes I make roast aspragaus sandwiches with just a smear of spreadable goat cheese and toasted sourdough bread.
The other part of my favorite spring dinner is a soft shelled crab, pan fried. I am lucky enough to live somewhere with access to local fresh seafood and I couldn’t imagine my life without it. I’m a recent convert to soft-shells, though my mom always ate them I only first tried them about a year-ago. But now I love them, and those little crunchy fried legs, they’re my favorite part.
So there you have it, I will offer you dinner at least. But not to worry, I picked up the latest copy of Marth Stewart while traveling this week and there’s an article on pies that I’m dying to tackle. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Wash asparagus and snap off the woody ends. Drizzle some olive oil on a baking sheet and roll the asparagus around to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in the center of the oven for about 12 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice to ensure even cooking. Time may vary slightly depending how thick/thin your spears are. Serve, with a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired. (You can also use the same process to make roast green beans, time will be closer to 18-20 minutes.)
Pan-Fried Soft Shelled Crab
Your fish monger should have prepared the crabs by removing the lungs and eyes. I like to also reach under the shell and scrape out the yellow tomalley. Get two shallow plates, place a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt in one and thin it with some water until it is the consistency of cream (you could also use buttermilk, but I'm more likely to have yogurt on hand). Place equal amounts flour and cornmeal in the other plate and season with some salt and red pepper. Heat about half an inch of oil in a cast iron skillet. Dredge crabs in yogurt, then in flour mixture. Add crabs to hot oil, pan fry about 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Drain on paper towels, serve immedately.