CRAB AND ARTICHOKES WITH LEMON GARLIC AIOLI
PAIRS WELL WITH NOBILO SAUVIGNON BLANC
The perfect warm weather lunch or dinner, cracked crab with artichokes and aioli is both simple and sophisticated.
TIP: Make things easier by purchasing cooked crab and stirring a clove of minced garlic into store bought mayonnaise as a substitute for aioli, or spend some time in the kitchen with friends or family and make it all from scratch.
INGREDIENTS - CRAB
4 (2-3 pound) live crabs
1 shallot, peeled
1 clove garlic, peeled
Enough water to cover the crabs
Lemon wedges for garnish
INGREDIENTS - ARTICHOKES
4 large artichokes
Juice of ½ a lemon, plus additional lemon wedges for garnish
1 tsp salt
INGREDIENTS - AIOLI
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp kosher, or other coarse salt
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup water
Live crab is typically available in fish markets or ethnic markets. However cooked crabs are easily found in most supermarkets. Substituting cooked crabs in this menu works just as well. When purchasing cooked crabs ask the fishmonger to crack them for you.
If not cooking the live crabs immediately, cover loosely and store in the fridge up to 6 hours.
Fill a pot large enough to accommodate the crabs about 2/3 full with water. Adding crabs to the boiling water will make the water rise and it may overflow if the pot is too full.
Cover the pot, bring to a boil, and add the shallot and garlic clove. Once at a full rolling boil, carefully lift the crabs from the rear end, between the legs and place them claw and head first into the boiling water. Once all the crabs have been placed in the water, make sure there’s enough water to cover them by two inches, cover the pan and boil 15-20 minutes. If there is too much water, remove the excess with a ladle and discard.
Once the crabs have been cooked, drain, discard the shallot and garlic, and allow to cool before handling.
When cool enough to handle they can be cleaned and cracked.
To clean them, remove and discard the triangular flap from the belly side.
Pulling from the back of the crab, lift the back shell off and discard the liquid from the shell.
On the body section, discard membrane that covers the center. Discard gills from sides of body. Rinse well with cool water.
Twist legs and claws from body. Using a nutcracker or wood mallet, crack the shell of each leg and claw section. With a knife, cut the body into quarters.
Crabs can be served warm or cold. If serving cold, they can be cooked the day ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
It's best to provide guests with nut crackers, mallets, and seafood forks for ease of dining.
Serve with Aioli and lemon wedges.
Fresh artichokes are typically available from May to October. The artichokes can be served warm or cold. If entertaining it’s easier on the cook to serve the artichokes cold since they can be done several days ahead.
Trim the stem of the artichokes. With a sharp knife, cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and remove the tough choke from the center of the artichokes.
Place the trimmed artichokes in a large pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, add the lemon juice and salt, cover and cook until the artichokes are tender, about 25 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the artichokes and serve warm, or allow to cool completely and serve room temperature.
Serve with aioli and lemon wedges.
Aioli makes everything it touches more delicious. Fresh herbs like tarragon or basil can be added to this recipe to change things up.
On a work surface, combine the minced garlic and salt. Using a heavy knife, mash the garlic and salt until it becomes a paste.
Scrape the garlic paste into a small bowl. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard. Whisk to combine.
Continue to whisk and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Slowly whisk in the oil until all the oil has been incorporated and the aioli has emulsified. If the aioli breaks while you are adding the oil, stop, whisk until smooth, and then continue to add the rest of the oil.
If the aioli is too thick, whisk in some water to thin it. Season with freshly grated pepper and additional salt if necessary and serve.
Aioli can be made several days ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator but should be consumed within 4 days because it is made with uncooked eggs.
Makes 1 cup.