“The crab that walks too far, falls into the pot”
Dungeness Crabs are to Thanksgiving menus in the Pacific Northwest what turkeys are to everyone else’s in America. They are the harbinger of late Fall, signalling that Thanksgiving is upon us. Crab bibs are dusted off and pounds of sweet cream butter melted in anticipation of feasts to come. National news reports of large, toxic algae blooms earlier in the year weighed heavy on the minds of locals much like a forecast of a snowless late December haunts the minds of small children facing a Santa-less Christmas. Thanksgiving is here and I started to craving sweet, briny Dungeness crab. I was troubled by recent news stories that there may not be a crab season at all. Rumors were spreading like wildfire that all crabs nationwide, even in Alaska, had been affected with abnormally high levels of a toxin called domoic acid. My heart sunk and I felt heavy and listless. Frozen crab can be found all year long but I prefer the flavor and texture of fresh Winter crabs.
I figured if anyone had the latest news it would be Linda Brand Crab, a collective of small family fishermen in the Northwest based in Washington state. I went to their facebook page and was soothed to see tests of crabs from central Oregon and up the Coast proved they were safe for eating. I grabbed my coat and ran to the Portland Farmer’s Market to grab a pound of delicious sweet crab meat from them. With the recent cold snap I wanted a bowl of soup for comfort. One of my most loved cookbooks is ‘Takashi’s Noodles’ by noted Chef Takashi Yagihashi. It is one of the few cookbooks I actually follow recipes out of to great success on a regular basis. Takashi has a great recipe for a noodle soup with fresh crabs and eggs that I modified ever so slightly.
Here is an easy to make soup that will satisfy your hunger pains and comfort your heart. Crab noodle soup for the soul!
- 1 pound udon noodles
- 2 quarts udon broth, see recipe
- 1 pound fresh Dungeness crab from Linda Brand Crab
- ¼ cup frozen green peas
- 4 farm fresh eggs, beaten
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- Cook udon noodles in rapidly boiling salted water. Drain and then divide between two clay pots.
- Put one quart of hot udon broth into each pot.
- Divide crab equally between pots.
- Sprinkle green peas equally over each one.
- Pour half the eggs over and garnish with chopped green onions.
- Put clay pot on a burner, cover and bring to a boil.
- Serve tableside in clay pots.
- 2 large pieces of kombu, dried seaweed available in most Asian grocery stores
- 2 quarts cold water
- 3 cups dried bonito flakes, available in most Asian grocery stores
- 2 quarts Dashi
- 1 cup mirin, available at most Asian grocery stores
- 1 cup whiskey barrel aged Shoyu, or use soy sauce or Braggs
- Put kombu and water into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Add dried bonito flakes and turn off.
- Let steep for ten minutes before straining.
- Mix dashi, mirin and shoyu together.
- Bring to a boil and keep warm.
One of the side benefits to working for a specialty food company is the samples other companies send us to try. For weeks we have had three bottles of this amazing shoyu sitting around. It is a whiskey barrel aged shoyu from Japan that lended an amazing flavor to the finished udon soup base.