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~ The Difference Between Imitation Krab & King Crab ~

IMG_3673If you grew up eating imitation krab (as it is often spelled for differentiation purposes, you never felt you were consuming a compromising product.  Culinarily, it was a one of the staples of mid-century entertaining -- right up there with fondue, Spam and molded Jell-O -- and life was good. Krab Salad and Krabby's (crab on cheesy toast) were two of my favorites.  Imitation crab revealed nothing about ones standing in life either -- from the ditch digger's wife to the doctor's wife, everyone used it.  Truth told, unless you grew up in or within driving distance of a crabbing community, it would be decades before the words "king crab" would enter your vocabulary.

Imitation krab or king crab meat.  It's your choice, &, as a matter of preference, it's absolutely no indication of your bank balance.  The two can be used interchangeably in any recipe. 

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.  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, the surimi is pressed into blocks, coated with a reddish food coloring, and 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 eating or enjoying it, but, if it's nutritional value you're looking for, choose something straight from the sea or 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 10 pounds.  The flavor doesn't vary between sizes, but larger legs yield better textured meat.  Comparison charts courtesy of alaskankingcrabonline



King-crab-leg-comparisonCan I interest you in a creamy-crunchy king crab salad sub?

IMG_3735"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

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


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