Crab Stuffed Prawns

Courtesy Michael Mina

Could anything sound more decadent than Dungeness Crab Stuffed Prawns with orange, jalapeno hollandaise, hot and sour sauce with cucumber noodles?

As Chef Michael Mina explains, “The booming flavors of this dish are bold without a doubt. The complex combination has it all. It’s spicy, sweet, sour, and the creaminess from the hollandaise binds it together. All the elements unite in a balanced whole to provide a pleasant jolt to the palette. The undercurrent of chilies brings on a lingering heat that tantalizes and perks up the taste buds.”

This appetizer is served at Mina’s Arcadia Restaurant and is commonly enjoyed as a bar snack, but also makes a substantial first course. Mina most loves “the texture of the cooked cucumber, because it’s tender yet still remains crisp. When you think about it, basically a cucumber is a pickle, and here you’re quickly pickling it in the vinegar sauce. Creamy hollandaise on crab is a decadent pairing; it’s kind of my ode to Japanese Dynamite Crab. The zesty hot and sour sauce is extremely versatile; try it on Asian greens or as a dipping sauce for steamed lobster or shrimp.”

SERVES  4 appetizer portions

1/2 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons minced yellow onion

1 tablespoon minced celery

1/2 pound Dungeness crabmeat, picked through for shells and shredded

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 red jalapeño, seeded and minced

1/2 green jalapeño, seeded and minced

1/2 cup Cayenne Mayonnaise (recipe follows)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 prawns, preferably spot prawns, peeled with tails on

Orange-Jalapeño Hollandaise (recipe follows)

Hot and Sour Sauce with Cucumber Noodles (recipe follows)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.


To make the crab mixture: In a small sauté pan, heat the canola oil over medium-low flame. Sweat the onions and celery until soft but without color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, combine the crabmeat, parsley, jalapeños, cayenne mayonnaise, and the sautéed onion and celery; season with salt and pepper. Fold the ingredients together thoroughly to combine evenly. Cover and refrigerate.

Butterfly the prawns by cutting almost all the way through the underside curl of the body and open them flat to resemble a butterfly shape. Pack 1 tablespoon of the crab filling into the cavity of the prawns. Perch the prawns, tail side up, on a baking dish; season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour 2 tablespoons of water into the pan to create some steam.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the prawns are firm and the crab stuffing begins to brown on the edges.

PRESENTATION

Divide the cucumber noodles among 4 plates, arranging them down the center.

Set 3 crab-stuffed prawns side-by-side atop the bed of cucumbers.

Generously spoon the hollandaise over the prawns, covering all of the crab stuffing.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the hot and sour sauce around the prawns, being sure to get some of the scallion and red pepper in each spoonful.

Cayenne Mayonnaise

SERVING  1 cup

INGREDIENTS

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 tablespoon cayenne

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1 cup canola oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 DIRECTIONS

To make the cayenne mayonnaise, put the yolk, mustard, cayenne, lemon juice, and water in a food processor and purée until smooth.

ith the motor running, drizzle in the oil in a thin steady stream until the mayonnaise is emulsified and thick.

Season with salt and pepper.

This may be made up to a day in advance, covered in the refrigerator. The mayonnaise will be used in the crab cake mixture. Any leftover is terrific on a roast beef or chicken sandwich.

Orange-Jalapeño Hollandaise

SERVING 1 1/4 cups

1 cup orange juice, strained

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 red jalapeño, stemmed

1 green jalapeño, stemmed

Kosher salt

2 large egg yolks

1 cup Clarified Butter (page 000), warm

1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

To make the orange-jalapeño hollandaise, simmer the orange juice in a small pot over low heat until it reduces to a thick golden syrup, about 15 minutes. You should have about 3 tablespoons of reduced juice.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. In the meantime . . .

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Put the jalapeños in a small baking pan and toss with the canola oil; season lightly with salt.

Roast for 15 minutes until the skins begin to blister and the jalapeños soften. When cool enough to handle, peel off the charred skins and scrape out the seeds. Mince the roasted chilies finely. Set aside.

Combine the cooled orange syrup and egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl.

Vigorously whisk until you get yellow ribbons. If the eggs begin to scramble or the mixture gets too hot, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk to cool.

Remove the bowl from the pot and slowly drizzle in the warm clarified butter and continue to whisk until the hollandaise is thickened and doubled in volume.

Stir in the minced jalapeños, cilantro, and a pinch of salt.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until ready to use.

If the hollandaise gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water to adjust the consistency so it’s creamy and light.

Hot and Sour Sauce with Cucumber Noodles

SERVINGS  3/4 cup

DIRECTIONS

2 cups pineapple juice, strained

2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, strained

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, strained

4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped, plus 1 scallion, green part only, cut on a bias

2 shallots, sliced

3 garlic cloves, smashed

1-inch piece ginger, sliced

1/4 habanero, seeded

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 red bell pepper, minced

1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned

DIRECTIONS

To make the hot and sour sauce: Mix all the juices together in a bowl or pitcher.

In a large pot, combine the chopped scallions, shallots, garlic, ginger, and habanero.

Add the sugar, honey, and 2 tablespoons of the mixed juice. Cook over medium-low heat until the moisture evaporates from the vegetables and the sugar gets syrupy, about 5 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching.

Mix in the vinegar and soy, cook until the vegetables are soft and the flavor is balanced between hot and sour, another 3 minutes.

Pour in the juice mixture and simmer until the liquid has reduced by about one-third and has body, about 30 minutes. The sauce should have thickened considerably due to all of the natural fruit sugars.

Remove from the heat and strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into another pot to remove the solids. The sauce can be made to this point up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerator, and gently reheated before proceeding.

To finish the sauce, bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in the sesame oil to emulsify the sauce.

Stir in the cucumber noodles and cook until for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften like spaghetti but still remain crisp in the center.

Using tongs, remove the cucumber noodles to a side plate, letting the excess sauce drip off. Remove the hot and sour sauce from the heat and stir in the remaining scallion and bell pepper.

WINE SUGGESTIONS

Toni Jost RIESLING ‘bacharacher haan’, mittlerhein, GERMANY 2002 – Spicy Asian flavors always match well with off-dry Rieslings from Germany. This dish needs a richer wine (as long as it is sweet).

NOTE

Michael Mina once again spotlights West Coast seafood in this dish.  If you  want  an elegant appetizer, the Dungeness crab stuffed prawns is perfect.  Or,  invite your friends for a hand’s on cooking/dining evening. This time of year the prawns might be a fun New Year’s Eve party appetizer.

I love anything with Dungeness crab. If you can’t find  at your local seafood market, you can order delivered to your door by calling  206-632-3900.

– The Gourmet Review

 

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