Sunday, October 3, 2010

Crab Fest At Almost Heaven South

A while back, I saw a TV ad for their Crabfest at Red Lobster and after going to Lobsterfest, I knew not to make that mistake again. As a side note, my dad and his wife lived in the Bradenton, Fl and with many seafood restaurants in the area, one of their favorites was Red Lobster – go figure. Anyhow, while I wasn’t about to trot off to Red Lobster, the crab fest idea stuck with me, so I decided to cook my own. I’ve posted before that, at best, I cook mediocre seafood and one of my goals is to get it into the very good realm, so I saw this as a good practice opportunity.

The three dishes that stuck in my mind were steamed king crab, pan-fried crab cakes, and crab-stuffed shrimp. The first one was pretty simple, thaw and steam the crab legs, except I added one of my frozen shrimp stock cubes to the water for some extra flavor.

While I could have used the same crab recipe for the cakes and the shrimp, I saw this as an opportunity to try two different recipes for the price of one meal. Since there were just three of us, I made half of the stuffed shrimp and three fourths of the crab cake recipe – which fit for the one pound of crab that I had. I used the $8/lb deluxe backfin crab verses the $18/lb lump – sometimes I’m a little cheap, but it was in big enough chunks to make dandy cakes.

For the crab cakes, I used Cathy’s recipe for Fire Roasted Pepper Crab Cakes from Wives With Knives. Check out her blog for the recipe and pics. I made it as Kathy wrote it and the ¾ recipe made six 3/8 of a cup sized cakes.

And for the stuffed shrimp, I used Mary’s recipe for Crab Stuffed Shrimp  from Deep South Dish. Again, check out her site for the recipe and pics. I used  twelve 15 count shrimp we had in the freezer and they were a great size for stuffing and matched just right with the stuffing amount. The only problem was they were pre-cleaned and in most cases cut too deeply for me to stuff them from the bottom as I wanted, so they didn’t have the presentation I wanted. My solution was to put them on a raised rack in hopes they would not fall over as they cooked – it worked well as they stayed stuffing side up.

We considered several side dishes, but wanted to leave maximum stomach room for seafood, and since we had lots of tomatoes and a piece of baguette, we settled on bruschetta. Bev just toasted the bread and put everything in the topping which contained tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, then sprinkled on a little chopped basil, parsley and shredded Romano cheese. She did this first class like she does pizza, salads, and sandwiches and loads them up.  Here's my plate.

The meal was close to very good – the shrimp stock cube had a positive impact on the crab legs, the crab cakes and stuffed shrimp were outstanding as was the bruschetta. I'll definitely use these two crab recipes again. I decided to work on presentation a little and just the addition of a couple of lettuce leaves made a big difference. The only negative was I used big shrimp and they could have cooked longer – especially for Bev who likes hers DONE (daughter Wende and I scarfed ours up).  One thing I believe I can say with confidence – it was better than Red Lobster.

For you football watchers, how bout them Vols - they found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by not being able to line up 11 players on the field - at least they gave LSU more than they wanted for the whole game.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. I think it should be illegal to post pictures of shrimp and crab. I can almost taste them now Larry. Looks great. It's 6:30 Sunday morning and all I want to do is eat crab and shrimp now. LOL
    I love seafood. I am always searchiing the on-line seafood shops to check for fresh seafood at a good price. It's amazing what you can have delivered to your door these days. Keep up the good work.-Bushman

  2. It looks mighty fine to me Larry. And by the way your previous post on pasta looks great too! My pasta should have been that creamy.

  3. Oh man, I probably smelled this cooking way down here!

  4. ok, where do I begin... I too have been lured (pun intended) into Red Lobster with their gorgeous television ads of succulent seafood feasts. All of those closeups with dripping butter. Not the same when you get to the restaurant. So I'm loving this idea to recreate the feast. I'm not great at seafood either. Really want to one day cook that perfect filet. I love Cathy's blog, I'm sure those crab cakes were delish! Love the idea of the cube added to the steam. The whole meal looks wonderful Larry, again, great idea! As you know after that Pimento spread, I'm thinking of starting a Bev fan club. Her bruschetta looks great.

  5. Hi Larry - I'm so happy you and Bev enjoyed the crab cake recipe. Just reading about your dinner makes me hungry for them again. Your crab stuffed shrimp will be on the menu next time I prepare seafood. Just can't get enough of our sweet Dungeness crab.

    Thanks so much for the link back to my blog. I tried Red Lobster years ago...once was enough.

  6. It looks wonderful Larry! Those Red Lobster commercials have been tempting me for some time now and I do not have a Red Lobster in my area. Nice to know I'm not missing anything. :)
    Crab is my favorite seafood..thanks so much for posting this and the recipes. Can't wait to try them!

  7. Funny because Alexis won't step foot in a Red Lobster either after her last experience left her with food poisoning.

    I am laughing about the shrimp because of our conversation about Bev's preference for doneness. I knew where you were going with that one.

    Great plate you put together.

  8. You probably weren't in Knoxville when the L&N Seafood Grill was open down at the World Fair park. It was wonderful, especially for Sunday brunch.

    But your crabfest is a great alternative!

  9. The plate looks terrific... crab is one of the few things on my list that I just have not got a decent recipe for. Tried a few, but not happy with any.

    So, bookmarking this..
    great job on the variety, Larry.

  10. I want to say how them Gators but, Alabama handed our butts to us. I won't mention the Florida vs Tennessee game. ;-)

    Your seafood recipes turned out really well. Nice job.

  11. Beautiful feast Larry! I'm with on the Red Lobster chain. We avoid chains if at all possible and R.L. takes so much "from the freezer to fryer to the table." (sing it like a jingle for chain restaraunts).

  12. Ha, Larry.... I often wonder why people like Red Lobsterf... GOSH---once you've had some good seafood, you would never eat it at a chain type place. We go to the beach in NC every May ---and get our fill of fabulous seafood there that week... Fabulous!!!!!

    Yours looks very good though--much better than Red Lobster... ha

  13. whoa... looks painstakingly delicious. you guys know how to live.

  14. I've had that same experience with Red Lobster - excellent at one location, horrible at another. Chains are supposed to be and should be consistent!

    On the other hand, that looks like a crab fest I would adore!! The bruschetta sounds like a great addition too. Thanks for the mention - glad you enjoyed the recipe!


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