It’s not often you hear the question “What should I do with all this leftover imitation crab?”. Yet just last night I found myself saying these exact words. My husband offered his thoughts “throw it out, we’ll never eat it”. Cindy (the nanny, babysitter, house manager, tie breaker, jack-of-all-trades) also had some words of wisdom “you remember that salad you made, a long time ago, with those things in it, it may have had crab, it was really good, you should make that”. I hoped that Mr. Google had some better ideas.
It turns out Mr. Google was not as prolific as I had hoped. But he led me to Mrs. Pinterest and she had several good ideas: Spicy Crab Sushi, a deconstructed California Roll Salad that Gina at SkinnyTaste perfected, Crab Mac and Cheese (yum), Poor Man’s Lobster Roll (double yum), Crab Summer Rolls, Hot Crab Dip, Cucumber Cups with Crab Salad (I made these for the first time when I was 15 and taking adult education classes at the Cumberland School), and Crab and Corn Chowder (winner winner, crab dinner).
So I went back to have a chat with Mr. Google and he introduced me to a few famous friends: Emeril makes a Crabmeat and Corn Bisque (Bam!), Mark Bittman makes a Corn Chowder (I love that he uses the cob to make a corn stock), and Rachael Ray makes a Chicken and Corn Chowder (undoubtedly with EVOO and her famous chop and drop method). All delicious, but not exactly what I was thinking of. Then I found a recipe on Food52 from Kim at Something New for Dinner that looked perfect. I took a bit from column A, a handful from column B and a dash from column C and now I have a great, easy, inexpensive, somewhat light, recipe for Crab and Corn Chowder (that really needs to be pronounced “chowda”).
P.S. So I’ve used all the leftover imitation crab (I keep hoping that if I say “imitation crab” enough it might sound appealing…). But I’m actually interested in trying out some of the other recipes I found. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m headed back to the Asian market to buy some more!
P.P.S. I wrote this post before I actually made the soup. Is this a faux pas? Regardless, what I failed to mention is that no matter the name of the so called “crab”, the soup was delicious. A new personal favorite. I guzzled down a large bowl in a matter of minutes and plan to indulge again for dinner. It was rich and well flavored and filling without any guilt because I used milk instead of heavy cream and about half the butter found in other recipes. Bam!
CRAB AND CORN CHOWDER
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 ears of corn, remove the kernels from the cob and set both aside
1 Idaho potato, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
½ teaspoon paprika
2 cups of milk
3 cups of corn stock (you will use the corn cobs to make a 10 minute stock)
1 bay leaf
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (you can always add more later)
2 cups imitation crab, diced (real crab will work too)
3 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté about 5 minutes. If it is cooking too fast i.e. the onions are starting to brown, either turn down the heat or add a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Once translucent, add the celery, pepper, corn, potato, and garlic. Cook about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour, Old Bay, paprika, salt and pepper and cook another 2-3 minutes. Stir regularly to prevent the flour from burning.
In a separate pot, add the 4 corn cobs and cover with water (at least 4-5 cups of water). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about 10 minutes. The water will smell flavorful. Strain and reserve corn stock.
To the large pot with the vegetables, add the milk, corn stock and bay leaf. Simmer gently for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Add the Worcestershire sauce and crab. Cook just another minute or two, until the crab is hot. Serve with scallions on top.