Dungeness Crab Legs

Dungeness crab has a sweet, succulent, and tender flavor. It also has the usual properties of crabmeat, being nutritious and very low in saturated fat. I boil them the same way we do all crabs and crawfish in seafood boil, and serve with lemon garlic butter.

In a separate pot, I boiled small red potatoes and smoked sausage links in seafood boil. Two clusters per person is the perfect amount with some potatoes and a few pieces of the sausage.

The amount of seafood boil will depend on how spicy you like it. I used 1/4 cup Louisiana brand seafood boil (powdered) and eyeballed for the potatoes and sausage.

Serve with melted garlic butter.

Fun Fact

The Dungeness crab has always been abundant along the pacific coast. Although Indians and other coastal foragers had enjoyed the Dungeness crab for centuries, it wasn’t until the early twentieth century that an unnamed innovative fisherman decided there might be a market for all of those big meaty crabs that seemed to be crawling around everywhere. Not surprisingly, this revelation took place in a small fishing village situated on a tiny spit at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula; Dungeness, Washington, now called Old Town Dungeness.

Cajun Boiled Snow Crab Legs

Snow crabs live within cold waters of the Pacific and Atlantic. The Snow crab is popular and well-known for the flesh from their legs, similar to the King crab and is making a name for itself due to the sweet taste this makes it one of today’s favorite all round shell-fish.

Of course, Cajun cooking has taken them to a Spicer level. We boil them in the same spicy seafood boil as the blue crab and crawfish.

For a serving for two you will need

4 snow crab clusters

1/4 – 1/2 cup powdered seafood boil, depending on spice level (I use Louisiana brand)

2 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole

Juice of 1 lemon

Smoked Sausage (optional)

New Potatoes (optional)

Corn (optional)

Directions

In a large stockpot, mix the seafood boil with 2 cups water. Add the garlic cloves. Squeeze the lemon juice in the water and toss the lemon halves in as well (they add great flavor) Add more water until you are just above the halfway mark in the stockpot. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Once it is boiling, add the snow crabs bring back to boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and let sit for an additional 10 minutes to soak up all the Cajun flavor.

Serve on seafood trays covered with newspaper.

To make the dipping sauce

Melt ¼-cup butter. Mix in the juice of half a lemon. Dip and enjoy!

Smoky Cajun Salmon Cakes

Got Salmon? This is a great way to use handy canned or leftover salmon.

You will need

3 oz Smoked Salmon, flaked

6 oz cooked or canned pink salmon drained & flaked

2 green onions, sliced

1 tablespoon onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon red bell pepper, finely diced

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Pinch of smoked paprika

Pinch of dill

Pinch of granulated garlic

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1-teaspoon Dijon mustard

A few dashes of hot sauce

1-teaspoon capers

1-tablespoon Italian breadcrumbs

1-tablespoon panko breadcrumbs

¼-cup panko mixed with 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Yogurt dipping sauce (recipe to follow)

Directions

In a large bowl flake Salmon and mix well. Add green onion, onion, red bell pepper.

In a separate bowl combine Cajun seasoning, smoked paprika, dill, garlic, Greek yogurt, and Dijon mustard stir to combine. Add to Salmon and mix thoroughly. Add Italian and panko breadcrumbs. Score and form into cakes and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the yogurt dipping sauce

Mix & refrigerate until ready to use

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons light sour cream

Zest and juice of half a lemon

Pinch of dill

1-teaspoon capers

When ready to cook the Salmon cakes

Spray the cakes with olive oil spray and coat the cakes in the panko & smoked paprika breadcrumbs. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons parkay spray or butter and cook the cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve with yogurt dipping sauce and lemon wedges.

Makes 4 cakes

Red Chile Gravy Shrimp Enchiladas

I know this is not entirely Cajun, but I picked up a New Mexico red chile ristra while we were on our trip in Taos, NM. I have been dying to make homemade New Mexico Red Chili gravy ever since. It can be used for any dish that calls for red chili such as enchiladas. The sauce was absolutely amazing, I made Shrimp & pepper jack enchiladas and they were a huge hit!

For the Shrimp Enchiladas

Dip corn tortillas in the red sauce, layer with shrimp, onion, and cheese. Roll up and place seam side down into a baking dish covered with a thin layer of sauce. Top with a little more sauce  and cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until cheese is bubbly and enchiladas are heated through. I served the enchiladas with an avocado salad.

Directions for the Sauce

Select a dozen red chilies off the ristra from the top and washed in warm water. Soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the stems and any loose seeds. Place the cleaned pods in a saucepan; add 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of olive oil. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

The Chile flesh will become plump, red, and softened. If not fully rehydrated, remove from the heat, cover the pan, and let it steam for a few minutes until the chiles are soft.

Taste the Chile water…if it is bitter; pour it out and replace it with 2 cups of fresh water. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend to a smooth puree.

Strain the puree through a sieve or colander to remove the chopped bits of skin and any remaining seeds.

To season I used a 1/2 teaspoon of the following

Salt

Onion Powder

Granulated Garlic

Cumin

Oregano

I also added a pinch of smoked paprika and a pinch of splenda.

The puree can be frozen for later use, or used right away to make enchilada sauce, Chile con carne, and many other recipes.

Andouille Dirty Rice

A spicy twist on the traditional Cajun dish.

Traditional dirty rice is made from white rice cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, which give it a dark “dirty” color and a distinctive flavor. I love the flavor of Andouille so I decided to give the old classic a new twist and it turned out AMAZING!

You will need

1 cup long grain white rice

Chicken stock

8 ounces of Andouille sausage, diced

1 & 1/2 cups trinity

3 white mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves, pressed

Tabasco pepper vinegar

Crystal hot sauce

Cajun season blend

To make the Cajun season blend mix salt, pepper, parsley, granulated garlic, onion powder, cayenne powder, and a pinch of dried thyme. Mix well and adjust to your liking.

Directions

For the rice

Rinse rice 2 times with a strainer to remove extra starch. Place rice in a saucepan and add 1 ½ cups chicken stock, 1-teaspoon olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Place saucepan (uncovered) over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let the stock reduce slightly below the rice. Cover and reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Sauté the andouille on medium high heat to brown. Once browned and slightly crispy lower the heat to medium and render the fat.

Remove andouille with a slotted spoon into a bowl. Sauté the trinity in the rendered fat until soft and add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the seasoning mixture and stir.

Add 2/3 cup chicken stock and 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco pepper vinegar and deglaze the pan scrapping up any brown bits. Add the amount of hot sauce you like to season while the cooking in finishing.

Add the andouille and rice. Cook until liquid is absorbed.

Head over to my other blog Best of the Veg for my oh so delicious Creamy Cajun Pasta!