Hideous? Yes. Pinchy? Nasty? Yes, and yes.
But so fucking delicious.
MENU: Summer Corn Salad • Salt Boiled Pertaters (lord have mercy) • Bawled Scrimps • Big Ol' Pot Of Crabs • Peach Pie with Buttermilk Cayenne Ice Cream
So, we decided to do a smaller event, just six of us, this time, and cook up a whole mess of bugs. Karl busted out dessert, and after the potatoes and corn salad were done, Zora, Karine and I set to work on the crabs.
Loading the crabs into the steamers and seasoning them was the fun part. We had a couple of minor crab skirmishes:
"No, no... but, you would be better the other way..."
As it turned out, Karine was really good at dealing with the more aggressive, snappier crabs, and she knew how to serve the crustacean smackdown. We sent her in as the enforcer, just to show the little monsters that we were smarter and tougher.
"They're ugly, and they're food..."
Once she had eliminated all pockets of resistance, we covered the beasties with a whole lot of Old Bay® and salt, and steamed them in vinegar, beer and water for about 15-20 minutes. Just for the record, all of the online recipes I could find recommended 45 minutes, but that seemed waaaaaay too long. Peter and Zora acted as final arbiters of when they were done.
We cooked up the shrimp in a delicious old school shrimp boil broth. Pickling spice, yellow and black mustard seed, green cardamom pods, a whole head of garlic, large quartered onion, lots of kosher salt, water, beer, whole allspice and star anise. Oh -- and a lot of bittersweet smoked paprika, which I can only ever find at Kalustyan's, and now I am out.
Then, we took the party outside to the yard, and dumped the crabs out on a newspapered table.
Finally, we beat the hell out of them with hammers and picks and ate them.
We anticipate a torrent of angry "Crab Meat Is Murder" emails.
There was also pie.
Following dinner, we retired to the Parking Lot next door to watch Peter's inspired performance as Doody in Grease!, Clamshack's equally inspriring turn as Marty in Grease! (though at a different college), and Tamara's gung ho go as a country singing nun in Sister Amnesia's Country Jamboree-- Nunsense 3. Oh yeah, baby. The power of vhs, a projector, a white wall and an empty parking lot. We are still waiting on Zora's "porn" debut.....