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~ Sweet, Succulent & Snowy-White King Crab Subs ~

IMG_3749When I was growing up, in addition to the deli-meat and cheese, on any given trip to the grocery store, my mom would purchase a container of creamy krab (not a typo) salad.  At home, she'd scoop it onto cottony-soft 'burger rolls, open a bag of Wise potato chips, and lunch was served.

WISE-POTATO-CHIP-OWLAs far as childhood memories for preprepared at the deli-counter salads or side-dishes go*, this store-bought mixture of imitation krab meat, mayo, lemon and paprika, was the singular mayo-based item that ever made it into our grocery cart.  Why?  Neither my mother or father cared one bit for mayonnaise, which then and to this day I find unusual.  In our house, the egg-, tuna-, potato-, macaroni- and slaw-type salads made by my mom all got dressed with either PA Deutsch Sweet and Sour- or Wish-Bone Italian- dressing (and I loved them).  All kidding aside and no joking, when I wanted mayonnaise, I went to my grandmother's house.

*  I loved grocery shopping with mom or dad, but, I humorously question how many kids harbor memories of grocery shopping and/or deli- salads.  

Imitation krab meat or king crab meat.  It is your choice...

IMG_3673... &, as a matter of preference, it's absolutely no indication of your bank balance.  The two can be used interchangeably.

IMG_3665When I was growing up back in the '50's and '60's, king crab legs were not available in any grocery store -- and no one was looking for them either.  Inexpensive imitation crab (krab as it is spelled for differentiation purposes), also known as poor man's crab, was very trendy, and housewives, whether they were on a budget or not, used it in all sorts of recipes for appetizers, salads and main dishes -- everyone from the ditch digger's wife to the doctor's wife.  Culinarily, it was a one of the staples of mid-century entertaining -- up there with fondue, Spam and molded Jell-O -- and life was good.  While imitation crab is indeed a seafood product made from surimi (an Asian fish paste made mostly from pollock), there is no shellfish in it (which is a plus for those who are allergic).  Once processed, surimi is pressed into blocks, coated with a reddish food coloring, then cut to be sold in the form of flakes, chunks or sticks.  In Japanese, "surimi" means "ground meat" and, FYI, imitation crab is used exclusively to make California Roll sushi (krab stick, avocado and rice wrapped in seaweed).  Imitation krab is sometimes described as the ocean's version of a hot dog (both are ground, processed food products), and, there's no denying both are tasty -- there's nothing wrong with enjoying either, but, if it's nutritional value you want, choose something straight out of the sea or from the pasture.    

IMG_3614 IMG_3614 IMG_3614 IMG_3614 IMG_3614 IMG_3630Fast forward.  High-quality fully-cooked flash-frozen king crab legs are available everywhere -- it's not for special occasions anymore.  No matter what brand or size you choose, it's all cooked on the fishing boats (or immediately upon landfall) and blast-frozen to preserve the sweet, slightly-salty taste and firm, succulent texture.  Unless you live in or close to a crabbing community, you will never get fresh, raw crab legs.  Once thawed according to the directions, this means it is ready to be cracked-open using a pair of kitchen shears and served, or steamed for a few short minutes to heat it through.  King crab is measured by how many legs it takes to equal ten pounds.  The flavor doesn't vary between sizes, but larger legs yield better textured meat.  Comparison charts courtesy of alaskankingcrabonline





For my divinely-decadent king crab submarine sandwiches:

IMG_3630The following crab salad submarine sandwich is my divinely-decadent king crab version of the celebrated, traditional New England lobster salad/world-famous lobster roll sandwich.  It is an unembellished mixture of nothing more than king crab meat and diced celery.  I flavor my mayonnaise mixture with nothing more than lemon juice, celery seed, sugar and black pepper. That said, while the New England lobster roll is best served just-that-minute-mixed and slightly-warm, using freshly-steamed lobster meat, the crab salad sub is best served chilled, because of the aforementioned nature of the blast-frozen, fully-cooked ahead-of-time king crab leg. 

IMG_3684For the creamy king crab salad:

1 1/2  pounds coarse-chopped or chunked king crabmeat, removed from 3 1/2-4 pounds king crab legs

1-1 1/2  cups diced celery

2  teaspoons lemon juice, fresh or high-quality store-bought not from concentrate 

3/4  cup high-quality store-bought mayonnaise, your favorite brand

1/2  teaspoon celery seed

1/2  teaspoon sugar

1/2  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

1 lemon, cut into 6-8 wedges, for a squirt-of-fresh-lemon garnish

IMG_3712For the submarine sandwiches:

4  6"-6 1/2" submarine/hoagie rolls, your favorite brand (Note:  I like medium-textured rolls, and, I do not recommend toasting them for these serve-cold subs.

2  cups baby arugula leaves, about 1/2 cup per sandwich

6  cups creamy king crab salad, from above recipe, a generous 1-1 1/2 cups per sandwich

IMG_3639 IMG_3639 IMG_3639 IMG_3639 IMG_3639 IMG_3639~Step 1.  Thaw the king crab legs according to manufacturer's directions.  Using a pair of kitchen shears, clip your way through the shell of each leg on two sides.  Using your fingers, pull the shells from the meat, then, using your fingertips, remove the meat remaining in the shells.  Using a chef's knife, chop meat into large bite-sized chunks. 

IMG_3677 IMG_3677 IMG_3677~Step 2.  In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, celery seed, sugar and black pepper.  Set aside.

IMG_3688 IMG_3688 IMG_3688 IMG_3688~Step 3.  In a large bowl, place the crab meat and celery.  Add the seasoned mayonaise.   Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the three ingredients together until all the crab meat is mixed with the celery and both are enrobed in the flavored mayonnaise.  Transfer to a 2-quart food storage container, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours (or overnight) to allow flavors time to marry.

IMG_3714 IMG_3714 IMG_3714Step 4.  To assemble the sandwiches, use a serrated bread knife to slice each roll in half. Place a layer of baby arugula leaves in the bottom and up the sides of each roll, to protect the soft bread in the center from the creamy crab salad.  Spoon a generous amount of crab salad (1-1 1/2 cups) into each, squeeze a lemon wedge, to squirt some fresh lemon juice over over the top, and serve immediately.

A semi-soft roll, baby arugula & creamy king crab salad:

IMG_3735Eat first, we can talk about it later, "E'YEAH baby"!

IMG_3753Sweet, Succulent & Snowy-White King Crab Subs:  Recipe yields 6 cups king crab salad/enough for 4, 6"-6 1/2" sub sandwiches.

Special Equipment List:  kitchen shears; cutting board; chef's knife; kitchen scale; large rubber spatula; 2-quart food storage container w/tight-fitting lid; serrated bread knife

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d206b238970c 2 6a0120a8551282970b01bb091f5dc5970d 2Cook's Note: If you have ever traveled along the New England coast in the Summertime, you are surely familiar with and have most likely eaten a lobster roll sandwich at one of the many roadside stands or clam shacks. Decadent, delicious and simple to prepare, slightly-warm, creamy-crunchy lobster salad is generously heaped inside of a soft, rather ordinary, top-split hot dog roll that's been buttered and grilled.  Aside from an occasional pickle and/or potato chips, it is served pretty much "as is".  ~ Lobster Rolls:  The Official Summertime Sandwich ~ served up on ~ My New England Top-Split Brioche Hot Dog Rolls ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary & Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)


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