Food Addiction: Stoned Crab and Hash Browns

It's official. Stone crabs are both David's and my favorite meal. Hands down.

After celebrating David's birthday a few weeks ago with key lime pie sans stone crabs, David talked to our seafood monger about getting some of these. So last week when our seafood peeps reported they were getting some in, David ordered a few pounds to kick off the season.

Look at these beauties. They come already cooked and all you have to do is crack them open and voila! Full of succulent meat, but not nearly as rich as lobster, this cold claw may be as close to heaven on earth as we'll get.

A perfect stone crab. Claw and two knuckles.

A plate of stone crabs. 2 lbs of stone crabs, to be exact.

Though I did not make another key lime pie (and we regretfully bemoaned this reality after we ate), we did prepare the obligatory mustard sauce and David's world famous hash browns. These hash browns are not, I repeat, are not cooked in a pound of butter. And they are absolutely delicious.

Why it's a tradition to eat hash browns with stone crabs, we are not sure, but it's the way it's done in Miami at Joe's Stone Crab. So who are we to argue? When in Rome, right?

Because David refuses to give up his secret recipe for the mustard sauce (even I don't know how he makes it!), I thought I'd tempt and tantalize you with the hash brown recipe.

Getting the stone crabs is easy. The season just kicked off on October 15 and continues through May 15, so there's plenty of time to treat yourself with these jewels of the sea. By the way, stone crabs are not recommended for the economically challenged. Though Groomer's does have pretty good prices.

You can order them online from Joe's and have them shipped to your door or if you live in or around San Antonio call 210-377-0951 or visit Groomer's Seafood and ask for Frank. Tell him you want stone crabs!

Buen provecho!

Hash Browns
The Cowgirl Gourmet's husband's recipe

Print recipe

These hash browns are so fabulous. The trick to getting them super crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside is to squeeze all of the water out of the potatoes before you cook them and use the right-sized skillet, which we didn't do, which is why they look thin...

Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, washed with skins on and shredded using a box grater
2 Tablespoons Smart Balance or extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter, unsalted
More olive oil as needed
Kosher salt and pepper
Garnish with chopped chives or scallions, optional

Using the large size of a box grater, grate the potatoes.

Using your hands, squeeze a hand-full of the potatoes at a time over the sink to get the water out. You will be amazed at the amount of brown water that comes out. Do this to all of the potatoes and then place the potatoes on a paper towel in a bowl or on a plate until ready to cook.

The water has been squeezed out of these potatoes.

Heat a 6-8 inch non-stick skillet over high heat. Once it's hot, add 2 Tablespoons Smart Balance, olive oil or a combination of both and turn the heat down a little so the oil does not smoke but does sizzle when you add the potatoes. Then add the potatoes and using a spatula pat the potatoes down into a circle. 

Sprinkle liberally with Kosher salt and pepper, lower the heat to medium-high and allow to cook for approximately 10 minutes without moving them. Now you'll want to top them with little pieces of about 1 Tablespoon of real butter.

After 5-7 minutes, carefully peek to see what the bottom of the hash browns look'll want them golden. If they are too brown, lower the heat a bit and if not yet golden, let them cook longer. During the cooking process, you may want to drizzle a little olive oil around the outer edges of the potatoes to keep them moist.

Once golden, flip the potatoes over using a plate or a large spatula. If the hash browns separate, not to worry. Just use the spatula to put them back together again.

Liberally salt and pepper this side and leave them alone. Again, this will take about 10-15 minutes to get golden and cook through.

Once the hash browns are ready, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and serve with chopped chives or scallions for a little garnish. Serve immediately with stone crabs and mustard sauce. (Even though David won't give us his recipe, you can use the recipe from Joe's Stone Crab cookbook.)


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