Sunday, June 24, 2007

Garlic Crab Noodles

A while back, Karen and I went out with a few of our friends to celebrate the beginning of the dungeness crab season, which starts in mid-November and runs well into the new year in this area. We chose to have dinner at PPQ Dungeness Island (2332 Clement Street; 415-386-8266), which specializes in this crustacean delicacy. The restaurant features several different preparations of crab, including roasted, drunken, and curry versions. As tasty as the crab is, a necessary component of the meal has to be a big plate of garlic noodles. The version served at PPQ Dungeness Island is very savory and pairs wonderfully with the sweet and delicate crab meat. Karen just loved these noodles and ate so much at that dinner the she coined a new phrase, garlic noodles full, to describe her state of being afterwards.

Last night, I decided to surprise her with a little treat by making her a crab dinner which included, of course, a large plate of garlic noodles. I thought that it would be an interesting twist simply to add the crab directly to the noodles to create a plate of garlic crab noodles. Yesterday afternoon, I dropped by Costco to pick up some Phillips jumbo lump crab, but they apparently were completely out of stock. Luckily, their Seafood Roadshow was taking place at the store this weekend, so I was able to obtain several nice looking king crab legs.

When I got home, I took half of the crab legs, cracked them, and removed the meat from the shell. (Helpful hint: A pair of kitchen shears come in quite handy for this task.) I would use this crab meat for the noodles. For the remaining legs, I would prepare them using the Alton Brown recommended cooking method and served them alongside the noodles. On my way home from Costco, I had picked up some fresh egg noodles from 99 Ranch Market. I prepped the noodles by quickly dunking them in boiling water, rinsing them with cold water (both to stop the cooking and to remove the excess starch), and draining them in a colander. Now I was ready to made the garlic crab noodles.

I set up my wok on medium-low heat and melted a generous amount of sweet butter. After the butter had melted, I threw in about six cloves of minced garlic and cooked them until they were just about to turn brown, about 3-4 minutes. Next I threw in the drained egg noodles and jacked up the heat to medium-high. Quickly stirring the noodles to mix in the garlic and butter, I poured in about a 1/4 cup of oyster sauce, and a small amount of granulated sugar which I mixed in with a bit of nước mắm, a Vietnamese fish sauce. I stir-fried the noodles for several minutes until they were thoroughly heated through before the final step of mixing in the king crab. Since the crab was already cooked, I didn't want to toughen the meat by overcooking, so I was careful to take the wok off the heat as soon as it got up to temperature. Here were the results:


Karen and I both really liked the noodles, but the next time that I make the dish, I think that I'll make a few tweaks. First, I'll add in some more garlic. I was afraid that I would overpower the crab so I held back a little, but I think that the dish can handle some additional cloves of garlic. Also, I might use an extra-virgin olive oil and butter mixture instead of straight butter to give the flavor a little more depth, though I'm not sure how the taste of the oil will mix with Asian flavors of the oyster and fish sauces. I also wonder if it would be good to add a few flakes of dried chiles to add a little kick to the dish. I guess that we'll all know the next time that I make garlic crab noodles.

4 comments:

Doctor No said...

I knew I should have come by. Kudos for additional garlic next time!

Loren said...

Of course you should have come by. Next time we might be chowing down on some baby back ribs.

tesha said...

that looks and sounds delicious! When exactly are you chowing down on baby back ribs? I will be sure to clear my calendar...

Anonymous said...

it looks good :) is that parsley, basil, or cilantro in the dish?