Tag Archives: Crabs

Spangled Emperor baked in tomato, olive, caper sauce.

Spangled Emperor baked in tomato, olive, caper sauce
Our Carnarvon tomatoes bought two weeks ago are well ripened and needing to be used. Yesterday, I took a kilo of the ripest and made a simple tomato sauce with them with the idea of baking some meaty fish fillets in it. I decided (after reading a Jamie Oliver recipe on line) some olives and capers would be a good inclusion along with the last of a bunch of basil also bought in Carnarvon.

We went over to Monkey Mia at 1pm today to crab for a couple of hours (came home with 10) so it was nice to know dinner was basically organised. The sun was just starting to set when we got home, so I grabbed the chance to try out a new lens I got for my camera the other day. I was really impressed with one of my photos-it shows a pile of salt in the background-that salt is about 20ks away across the bay!

Useless loop and that pile of salt are about 20ks away

Useless loop and that pile of salt are about 20ks away

Spangled Emperor Baked in Tomato, Olive, Caper Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (I had to use a red one)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1kg tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • large pinch mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Small handful basil leaves, torn
  • Handful of black olives-smash lightly with the flat of a knife and remove stone
  • 1 tablespoon capers.
  • Firm white fish fillets-enough for two (sauce could stretch to feed 4)
  • Spray oil
  • Cooked pasta or rice (I used risonni because I love it)
  • Chopped Parsley and lemon or lime to serve
Spangled Emperor in the pan

Spangled Emperor in the pan

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 190c.
  2. Heat the oil add the onion and garlic and cook over a gentle heat until well softened.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, stock powder, mixed spice and brown sugar, cook over a gentle heat until the tomatoes have broken down and you have a thickish sauce.
  4. Add the olives and capers, then pop the fish in on top of the sauce. Spray with the oil.
  5. Place in a preheated oven and cook for about 5 mins or until cooked through.
  6. Serve over pasta or rice with the parsley scattered over and lemon or lime on the side.

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Fried Quail with Spicy Salt

Fried quail with spicy salt

Fried quail with spicy salt

Monday we put the boat in at Fowlers Camp and headed out to our fishing spot off Eagle Bluff. We’ve been fishing there for years always catching heaps of just undersized pink snapper and the occasional size one that we can bring home. It’s a beautiful spot that we often have to ourselves apart from the dolphins there fishing for the small pinks. We came home with 2 pinks and 1 black snapper and a big flathead-something we’ve never caught there before. I cooked one of the snapper whole in the oven, stuffing the cavity with lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves and coriander stalks. Simple but good food!

Snapper on the plate

Snapper on the plate

It was so nice out there Monday, we headed out again Tuesday but couldn’t even catch the bottom!

Today, we spent the afternoon out crabbing at Monkey Mia. We had to wait for some dimwits on the boat ramp-they couldn’t back a trailer then pulled out and did all the tying down of their boat while we waited for them, then we only got 6 crabs and soaking wet in some promised rain that finally arrived. It was lovely to get home to a hot shower.

Before we left, I made the spicy salt and marinade, while Russ split the quail for tonight’s dinner. We didn’t shoot these quail, but bought them in Perth to enjoy one night in the future on our trip north. Tonight was the night. After an average day at Monkey Mia dinner was a feast!

I like my quail treated simply so the flavour still comes through-I think intense marinades kill all that-this recipe is one of the best. We ate the quail with a Green Papaya salad made with some of our last Carnarvon ingredients. It amazes me how long this good, fresh produce actually lasts; even now one week and 5 days after purchase the stuff is still better than if I’d brought it “fresh” at a supermarket today!

This recipe comes from a book Taste of China I bought years ago and is a family favourite for quail. I save the rest of the spicy salt, sieve it and use it on fish (especially sand whiting) and squid.

Fried Quail with Spicy Salt
Salt and Pepper Mix

  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

Quail

  • 4 quail
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper mix
  • (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine
  • 2 -3 tablespoons plain flour
  • oil (for deep frying)
  • lemon wedges, to serve
Fried quail with spicy salt

Fried quail with spicy salt

Method

  1. To make the spicy salt and pepper, combine the ingredients and dry fry over a low heat for 2-3 minutes or until aromatic.
  2. Split each quail in half down the middle and clean well. I like to remove the back bone with my knife and pull out the ribs, breast bone and wishbone with my fingers.
  3. Marinate with the teaspoon of spicy salt and pepper, sugar, soy and rice wine for 2-3 hours, turning frequently.
  4. Coat each quail piece in flour, dusting off the excess.
  5. Fill a wok to 1/4 full with oil and heat the oil to 190c.
  6. Fry the quail for 2-3 minutes each side then remove from the wok and drain on kitchen paper.
  7. Serve with the lemon wedges on the side.

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Oven Baked Crabs in Garlic Butter

Oven Baked Crabs in Garlic Butter

Oven Baked Crabs in Garlic Butter

Finally the god of crabs has smiled upon us. We went over to Monkey Mia yesterday and fished for a while to catch some butter fish for our crab nets, then threw them out and prayed. We took along 8 nets and I reckon we did about three rounds of them to come home with 7 good size crabs. I’ve never (ever) thrown back so many undersized crabs, and not a girl or small shark in the nets either! Three years ago, we couldn’t catch a crab out there to save ourselves so it was really heartening to see some around.

Finished crabbing for the day

Finished crabbing for the day

Today we went out again and came home with 9. I reckon I threw back 20 legal size ones, but I hate picking small crabs and legal size is still a small crab in my opinion. I sit at the pointy end of the boat and deal with the nets so I say “yeah” or “nay” as to whether we keep them or not. Yesterday was cold and a bit windy with a small a chop, so I copped a soaking bringing the nets in; today was perfect, and so still I could see the crabs in the nets 4 metres down.

Last night we saved 4 of the biggest crabs for our dinner tonight in case today’s crabbing was a failure.

The crab recipe I’m posting has been one of our favourites since finding it on line years ago. I think the original was written for those big frozen Alaskan King Crab legs you can buy, but I make it using the blue swimmers we catch. I either save all the biggest claws or halve or quarter smaller crabs. The fresh parsley (the original asked for dried) and chilli are my inclusions.

If you’ve never baked a crab, try it-it really intensifies the natural sweetness of the crabs. Make sure you have some good rustic bread to mop up all the yummy garlic butter, and serve with a simple salad to offset the richness of the crabs. Due to the artery clogging goodness of these, we only eat very occasionally, so they’re really special to us.

Oven Baked Crabs in Garlic Butter

  • A couple of crabs each (really depends on crab size and your appetite), quartered, or crab claws, lightly cracked
  • 125g butter
  • 1/2 head of garlic, (5 or 6 cloves), crushed
  • 1 chilli, minced,or could use dried flakes (and to taste whatever you use!)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • sea salt
  • parsley

Oven Baked Crabs in Garlic Butter 2

Method

  1. First catch your crabs!
  2. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and chilli, saute lightly. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon and lime.
  4. Hold on a low heat letting the flavours meld while your oven heats. Add salt to taste and a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh parsley. Whisk in the olive oil and remove from the heat
  5. Arrange the crabs in a baking dish, brushing each leg with the sauce. Pour any remaining sauce over them.
  6. Bake crabs for about 20 minutes or so (depending on how thick the quarters/claws you have are), brushing the sauce from the bottom of the pan onto the legs every 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven. Scatter over more fresh parsley.
  7. Serve the crabs in the baking dish so you can dip bread and crab meat into the pan juices.