Variations on Crab and Wasabi

I promised to post recipes for some of the dishes from the Fel Iron Chef competition, so here they are! You may be able to tell the difference in styles of the two Chefs by looking them over.

The recipe for the most innovative dish by Chef Poob:

Creamy Wasabi Mustard (Camo Sauce)

2 tablespoon cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoon wasabi
2 tablespoon mayo
3 tablespoon mustard dijon
dash of onion powder
dash of sugar

Crab Poppers

1 large can Poblano peppers

Filling
1 lb crab
2 tbs fine chopped bell pepper
2 tbs fine chopped onion
1/4 cup cracker meal
1 beaten egg
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup milk
salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

Breading
2 cups cracker meal
1 cup milk
2 eggs
salt and pepper

cut peppers in half and stuff with filling
bread and dump in boiling hot oil until kitchen bursts into flame

The recipe for the most innovative dish by Chef Orlo:

Crab and Cauliflower Soup (serves 2-4):

Key notions:
We are mixing textures as well as flavors in this dish. The broth is not poured until the very last minute in order to keep the nutty flavour of the cauliflower and the crispy, sweet crab meat distinct and separate. What brings them together is the acidity of the tomato and leek, all under the umbrella of lemongrass and wasabi.

1 head Cauliflower, flourettes chopped into small bits
Fresh Crab meat : 1/2 to 3/4 of however much cauliflower you have
1 glug Olive/Canola Oil
1 glug oil, olive or Canola
1-2 liters vegetable stock or filtered water
1 cup chopped leeks
1 tomato, very thinly sliced (alternatively, you could chop them to cubes half the size of the cauliflower chunks)
3 cloves garlic, roughly crushed
1-2 strands lemongrass, smashed
1 tbsp wasabi paste
1 whole crab (the redder the better, for color and taste. Frozen is OK)

finely chopped chives
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Begin to boil water or stock in an appropriately-sized pot

3. In a bowl, dress the cauliflower with pepper and salt, and rub in oil until all pieces are covered and salt and pepper are distributed evenly.

4. Spread cauliflower out on a thin baking sheet and place in the pre-heated oven near the top

This is the fun part:
Smash, Bash and Crush the crab and garlic and optional lemongrass into bits. We won’t be eating these directly; they’ll be flavouring our broth for our soup ( But save the crab claws to snack on while cleaning up)

5. place leeks, crab, smashed garlic, wasabi paste and lemongrass into the water/stock.

6. Let stew for as long as you can. The longer the crab stays in there, the redder (and prettier) the stock gets. Taste periodically to make sure you have the desired amount of salt and wasabi . Start with light salt… you can always add more, but you cant take any away!

7. While the soup is stewing, check on your cauliflower. After about 7-10 minutes, or when your cauliflower is just turning golden brown, spread some of the fresh crab meat onto the same pan, next to the cauliflower. By roasting the cauliflower and crab, we are allowing the more complex carbohydrates to un-tangle, making them more receptive (and sweeter) to our tastebuds. Roasting the crab will also give us some bite for when we put it in the soup.

8. While the cauliflower and crab finish, start preparing your soup bowls. Place one or two of the very thin tomato slices in the bowl and dress it with some of the chopped chives.

9. When the cauliflower and crab look ‘toasted’, pull them out and let them sit for a minute, then place them on top of the tomato in the soup bowls. Notice that we have not added any of our crab stock at this point.

10. When it comes time to eat, serve the bowls of tomato, crab and cauliflower, then gently pour in some of the broth around the edges of the bowl, making an effort not to drown our beautifully toasted crab and cauliflower. Garnish with more chives, if you wish, a stalk of lemongrass or a leftover crab claw climbing out of the bowl would look awesome too.

Possible variations:

Try adding some Thai basil or cilantro at the end, to make more of a pho-flavoured dish. Add some broiled or crispy pan-fried white fish just before you pour the broth for a more seafood-y soup.

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I Have Way Too Much Leftover Crab

I’ve been meaning to do the wrap-up post for the Iron Chef-style battle we held back in February, but I hadn’t gotten around to it until today. So here it is: the results of the showdown in the Kitchen Arena:

The contenders with their game faces on.

The contenders with their game faces on.

chairman

The Weirdo Chairman

program

Cool Programs: thanks Mom!

The battle was not nearly as intensely fought as it is on television, the competitors were more cordial and atmosphere was a bit more relaxed. As the chairman, I wore a maroon bathrobe along with the longest formal black tie I could find. I tried to follow the program as closely as possible: The introduction, the coin toss, the biting of the pepper (actually very yummy), the unveiling of the special ingredients and the battle itself.

We had three cameras going during the battle. Mine died fairly early due to lack of battery life, but the other two stayed on. The hope is that a video will eventually be produced but that takes a lot more effort and will than a blog post, which has taken me 2 months!

Each contender prepared three dishes.  First up was Chef Poob:

n722117939_1355104_7163 Crab Dip with Pita Wedges A rich and creamy crab dip with cheese on top served with fried pita wedges for dipping and garnished with wasabi mustard sauce.
vlcsnap-6062289 Poblano Poppers Poblano Peppers stuffed with crab and cracker meal, breaded and fried to perfection.
tradpoob Crab Quesadilla A traditional quesadilla stuffed with cheese and crab and cut into strips served with dipping cups filled with wasabi mustard.

His dishes were very well received.

Chef Orlo responded with:

caulsoup Roasted Crab and Cauliflower Soup Roasted cauliflower and roasted crab along with fresh herbs and vegetables with the broth poured tableside to preserve the texture and taste.
cakes Asian-style Crab Cakes with Soy Sauce Lightly fried crab cakes with Asian spices served with wasabi and soy sauce.
crunch Open-faced Crab Quesadilla with Orange Pepper An open face quesadilla on a half-tostada heavy on the crab and light on the cheese with fresh orange pepper and wasabi on top.

His dishes were also well received and analyzed thoroughly by the judges.

The final adjudication was really tough because I didn’t want anyone to lose!  Someone has to in a competition, I guess, though.  Both culinary masters did well but only one came out the winner and the first “Iron Chef.”

Here are the final scores:

Poob Orlo
Judge Taste Plating Originality Taste Plating Originality
Judge 1 9 4 4 8 5 4
Judge 2 7 4 5 9 4 5
Judge 3 7 3 3 8 5 4
Total 23 11 12 25 14 13
46 52

Here’s a video of me announcing the winner:

As I said, a little too low key.  And I got the score wrong, also.

Many thanks to competitors, judges, attendees, and everyone who was involved for making it totally awesome!  On Friday I will post the recipes that the competitors sent me for their dishes.

Some lessons learned for the next battle:

  • It is important to hold the tournament in a neutral location.  If one competitor has cooked or practiced in the location, they have a definitive advantage.
  • Have a better plan for how to do the math.  We used clipboards and score sheets that were a little confusing and I added them up wrong.  We had two accountants at the battle but neither checked my numbers!
  • Buy less ingredients.  I went kind of crazy with the ingredients but since both contenders already sort of had a plan in mind, they didn’t need many of them.  Almost none of the vegetables got used and very little of the cheese.
  • Be more flamboyant.  A flamboyant chairman makes for a more exciting battle.

We already have two possible contenders lined up for the next battle. Chef Orlo is planning the next event (so as to find an adequate challenger) and has already picked a secret ingredient to challenge the competitors.  He is only biding his time before the ingredient is fully in season. You have not seen the last of this culinary tournament!

A Gastronomic Challenge is Issued…

Not to interrupt the excellent on the spot Blizzcon reporting from orlowski, but my appetite has been whetted by an interesting search that led someone to find this blog:

japanese crab wasabi quesadilla recipes

I challenge both of my cobloggers, who are both culinary wizards of one sort or another, to come up with a recipe that sates this unlikely searcher’s desires, and then prepare it!  If they both succeed at meeting this challenge, I will assemble a panel of judges to choose the victor, IRON CHEF STYLE!

Disclaimer: The panel of judges may consist of only me.