This post is like cheating. Hardly a recipe at all, it's basically just an excuse to post pretty pictures from Sunday's trip to Pike Place Market with Canadian Cowboy. Our mutual love of the market is such a nice thing. On one of our early dates, we met at the market at his suggestion. He purchased Copper River salmon (the best!), scallops, and fresh asparagus. Much to my delight, he let me pick out two bouquets of flowers -- one for his apartment, and one for me to take home. I selected these gorgeous irises for myself and a bright (but masculine) seasonal bouquet for him. Market fare in hand, we went back to his place, where he proceeded to grill up an outstanding meal. He even grilled the salad and wrapped the scallops in bacon -- very impressive!
During our market visit last Sunday, we picked up a hefty Dungeness crab, 1.5 lbs of Penn Cove mussels, French bread and almond/orange shortbread cookies from Le Panier, and a pound of late summer strawberries for homemade strawberry sorbet. We didn't even bother with vegetables this time. Shame on us, I suppose, but we were very focused on the seafood feast!
I cooked dinner for him this time. Since steaming shellfish only takes a few minutes, I prepared the strawberry sorbet first. It is such a simple thing to make that it really doesn't require its own post: 18 oz of strawberries, pureed, mixed with 3 tablespoons of fresh lime. Stir in simple syrup (1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water, heated and stirred until the sugar dissolves, then cooled to room temperature). Set it whirring away in your ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes and then freeze in an airtight container until ready to use.
Once the sorbet was finished, I made a quick sauce in which to steam the mussels. Nothing fancy, much the same as this one I made a few years ago. I dropped the shellfish into their respective pots, lit tealights for my two newest Glassybaby (oh, how I love them), and ten minutes later we were sitting down to a late-summer seafood extravaganza on the patio. So delish. The white wine and brilliant vase of dahlias on the table didn't hurt either.
Steamed Crab with Clarified Butter
1 large crab, approximately 2 - 2.5 lbs, cleaned
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 lemon plus additional for garnish
Add 2 inches of water to a large stock pot and place it over high heat. When it reaches a boil, add the crab, cover the pot, and heat for approximately 10 minutes. (A steamer basket is ideal for this step, but not required.) Remove crab to a serving platter, squeeze lemon over exposed meat, and serve at once with clarified butter.
[To clarify the butter, melt it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Skim the foam off the top and then pour the butter into a separate dish, leaving any solids at the bottom of the saucepan behind.]