Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Barbary Coast Kitchen IV

It pays, when you're restricting your diet to local food, to have preserved items on hand.
I'm no great canner, but I do have a lot of local tomato sauce frozen in plastic bags (fill one-qt. bags with about two cups of sauce, freeze 'em flat, stack 'em — I go the added mile of laying four or five bags inside a large freezer zipper bag, for protection against freezer flavor).
A week ago at the farmers' market, we talked to a fishmonger who said the Dungeness crabs from Half Moon Bay are almost finished for the season, so last Sunday we made sure to get ourselves some.
See where this is going? Tomato sauce... Dungeness crab... Cioppino!
Oh, but I didn't want to be dipping my manicure into a bowl of hot soup, struggling with slippery, shell-y crustaceans.* So we bought crabmeat and simply skipped the other usual suspects in this venerable North Beach recipe (clams, shrimp). We didn't even add any fish. Just a bowl of tomato sauce and crab.
WITH: Spring onions, olive oil, diced carrots (we pretended they were the clams), salt, chile powder, white wine, a bay leaf, a lemon leaf, a short length of wild fennel stem, and the tips of some oil-roasted asparagus (we pretended they were the shrimp).
Notes on seasoning: Lemon leaves! Who knew? I just learned about it in this month's Saveur. Use fresh, young ones and monitor your food for flavor. Our soup got lemony really fast. The fennel stem may need to be yanked out soon, too, especially if you are making soup for Cranky.

*I'm lying, of course. Cookiecrumb does not have a manicure.


kudzu said...

Oooh---weee. Sounds so good, especially right now when I'm feeling peckish.

That lemon article was great, no? I was surprised to see the bit about cheese on lemon leaves on the grill. I learned that eons ago and find it so much fun and so good, especially with LOCAL mozzarella. Try it. Another lemon thing, taught by an elderly Italian painter in Rome: place a lemon in the top of your wine (or water) carafe when you're dining outside --- he said it was to keep the flies out.

Sara said...

Your version of cippino sounds much better than any I've tried. Thanks for the frozen sauce suggestion. I can hardly open my freezer for all the containers spilling out.

Dagny said...

And I just thought that the only use lemon leaves was as molds for making chocolate leaves. I also agree with Sara on the freezing tip. My tiny freezer can only hold so much.

cookiecrumb said...

Cheese on lemon leaves sounds Divine! I'm doin' it, Kudzu.
Dagny and Sara, click on my tomato link to see how small the bags I froze are. I have a tiny freezer too. (Ooh! Didn't know about leaves as chocolate molds! Ah well. I don't have a sweet tooth.)

Greg said...

Ya making me hungry. They use to sell bay shrimp down the road there in China Camp.That would qualify as local.

Kevin said...

Cioppino is one of all-time favorites.

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: But not quite as local as the quail I saw underneath a car on my street yesterday!
Still. I wish I'd been around when they were still selling shrimp.
Kevin: I gotta tell you, it was incomparable with homemade tomatoes. You can dilute it to whatever strength you like, but my tomato sauce is pretty loose, so a good glug of wine, and we were there!