I’ve often said that one of the things that I love most about living in Canada is the culinary discovery of it all. Not one week goes by when I don’t try a new fish, fruit or vegetable or discover a new way of cooking – or sometimes – a whole new cuisine. After seeing (and eating) sablefish on all the Ocean Wise restaurant menus, I decided to try making it at home and cooked my very first marinated sablefish this week. It was gorgeous but so expensive! ‘Pay day fish’ @CarolynAli called it on Twitter, after giving me this fabulous recipe. so perhaps I’ll save it just for special occasions.
But there’s another West Coast sustainable speciality that I see everywhere and had never tried before; Dungeness Crab, but after a trip to Coast, I figure I’ll not even bother trying to cook one as they have spoiled me forever by making The World’s Best Crab Cake (a title previously held by a tiny restaurant in Cork. Sorry guys, it’s time to hand over the trophy).
A confession: I’m never usually a crab fan; it’s not that I don’t like it, it’s more that I don’t love it, but I think I may have just been eating the Wrong Kind Of Crab. Turns out, I’m a West Coast girl all the way, as I was smitten after just one bite. So – what is a Dungeness Crab? They’re unique to the coastal waters of the pacific, they look just like a regular crab and Hiro Amano, Chef de Partie at Coast, told me that he thinks the Dungeness Crab is the “showcase fish for the crab family.” A little sweeter than say, king or snow crab, with an almost buttery flavour, this is just perfect on its own.
So why is this the World’s Best Crab Cake? Well, unlike most others this has almost no ‘filler’ at all. It’s 99% pure Dungeness Crab, bound together with a roasted-garlic aioli (no salt added) to enhance the natural sweetness and the smallest dash of panko to add a little crunch. It’s extraordinary. I went back a few days later just to have another taste as thoughts of its sweet juiciness had been swimming through my head. That second portion convinced me; this is just about as close to a perfect fish dish as anything I have ever tasted.
I’m sure there are a million things I can learn to cook with Dungeness Crab, but I shan’t ever bother replicating this. Go, eat it, but beware – just one bite may have you hooked.
I ate as a guest of COAST however, as always, my views are 100% my own.