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Food for the soul
Kyle Connaughton of Single Thread – winner of the 2018 Miele One to Watch – shares a simple yet impressive show-stealer of a dish.
“This is a satisfying and relatively easy one that makes a complete meal with only a small amount of crabmeat. I like to make this dish on the Sonoma Coast of California, using local Dungeness crabs when they are in season; however, most varieties of crab will work just fine. Once you feel comfortable with the techniques in this dish, you can easily customise it to suit your taste preferences and the seafood you have on hand. We enjoy adding different typed of kimchi to this dish, as well as ginger, braised kombu, gingko nuts, mushrooms, and a variety of vegetables.” – Kyle Connaughton
Crab Rice with Charred Green Onion, Tatsoi, and Sesame
Serves 4 to 6 as part of a multicourse meal
Recipe from Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking, published by Ten Speed Press
Makes 7 to 8 cups
“Buying whole crabs will yield you the shells and all the meaty flavors that come with them. The shells can be used to make the crab dashi, which can be used in place of water when cooking the rice to give a deeper, more complex umami flavor. The dashi instructions here make much more than the recipe requires, so you can enjoy the rest by trying the Hokkaido-Style Seafood-Miso-Kimchi Hot Pot or by serving it as a clear soup to accompany this dish. To make a soup from it, combine the dashi with just a bit of reserved crabmeat and a few of the tatsoi leaves, and add a sprinkle of salt, soy sauce, or shiro shoyu (white soy sauce).” – Kyle Connaughton
1 whole Dungeness or stone crab
10 cm2 piece Kombu
30g Loosely packed dried bonito flakes
- If using live crab, steam for 15 minutes, until cooked through then chill the whole crab in an ice bath or the refrigerator.
- Clean the crab by separating the meat from the shells and reserve the meat. Remove any lungs, eyes, or apron using scissors, and discard. If you like a richly umami “sea flavor,” mix in any of the cooked brown sections of the crab with the meat, or keep them with the shells for a deeper-flavored stock.
- Reserve some lump pieces of meat for garnish on top of the final rice dish.
- In a medium pot, place reserved shells, kombu and water. Heat gently over low heat, just below a simmer, and cook for 1 hour to infuse the crab and kombu flavours into the stock.
- Remove the kombu and raise the heat slightly. Add the katsuobushi and turn off the heat. Steep for 5 minutes and strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Reserve 240 ml of strained stock for the final rice dish. Use the remaining stock to make a clear crab soup or for cooking the rice, if desired.
540ml Short-grain white rice, rinsed
540ml Water or Crab dashi
2 bunches Green onions
60 ml Grapeseed or canola oil
1Tbsp Toasted sesame oil
80ml Shiro shoyu (white soy sauce) or usukuchi shoyu (light-colored soy sauce) (Converted from 1/3 cup)
120g Baby tatsoi leaves (can be substituted with baby spinach leaves, turnip greens, mizuna, or pea tendrils)
450g Crabmeat reserved from the Crab dashi, or 450g lump crabmeat
240ml Crab dashi or Kombu and Bonito dashi
1-2Tbsp Toasted white sesame seeds
Sea salt or soy sauce (optional)
Ichimi togarashi (Japanese ground chillies), for garnish
- In a three rice-cup (540ml) double-lidded donabe rice cooker, soak rice in water or dashi for 20 minutes. Cover with both lids and cook over medium-high heat for 13 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, working in batches, char green onions in a large dry sauté pan over medium-high heat, turning regularly, for 2 to 3 minutes. The green onions will begin to steam in their own moisture and char on the outside.
- Remove from the sauté pan. Trim the root end and a few inches of the green tops and discard. Slice the green onions into 6mm rounds and reserve.
- Wipe out the sauté pan and heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add charred green onions and sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add the sesame oil and the mirin and scrape the pan to deglaze. Allow the alcohol to evaporate (1 to 2 minutes) and remove the pan from the heat.
- As the pan is cooling, swirl in the shiro shoyu. Set the green onions aside.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside.
- Bring a medium to large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the tatsoi leaves for 10 seconds and immediately submerge in ice water. Once chilled, remove the leaves from the ice water, drain, and reserve.
- To finish the dish, fold the crabmeat into the rice (reserving some nice lump pieces for garnish), 240 ml of the crab dashi (or other dashi), the charred green onion mixture, the tatsoi leaves, and the toasted sesame seeds.
- Cover the rice cooker and gently heat over a medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes to heat thoroughly and perfume the rice with the crab aroma.
- Season with salt or additional soy sauce if desired, and garnish with the reserved lump crab pieces, additional sesame seeds, and ichimi togarashi.