Tag Archives: crab

Butternut Squash Bisque with Prosciutto Chips and Crab

It’s 5 star make over time again, and this month’s theme is squash!

 Hosted by: 5 Star Foodie  & Lazaro Cooks!


Right away, I knew I would be doing something with butternut squash.  Sweet, and remarkably vibrant orange in color, it’s definitely my favorite member of the squash family.

Even though it has been more summer like here in Virginia with 80 degree days, the evenings have been cooling off, and the idea of things like soups and stews are beginning  to sound appealing.

I decided to make a bisque for this month’s challenge, showcasing the true flavor of butternut. I roasted the squash along with a red bell pepper to bring out the natural sugars before blending into a smooth puree; the base for the creamy bisque.  Sauteed onions and leeks were invited to the mix, along with some chicken broth and a bit of cream for simmering. I  balanced it out with some crisp salty prosciutto and crab for the  garnish.

After shooting the pics for this post, we ate the bisque for lunch (one of the benefits of photographing food for your blog! );  a nice treat to sit down and enjoy on a busy weekend day. —-really loved this one, yes, butternut squash is still my favorite.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else has come up with this month! Be sure to stop by and visit 5 Star Foodie or Lazaro Cooks for the roundup this Friday for all kinds of wonderful ideas for squash!




Butternut Squash Bisque with Prosciutto Chips and Crab
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 (2 pound) butternut squash – halved and seeded
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup finely diced leek
  • 2½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1⁄2 cup of heavy cream
  • Garnish:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 slices prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup lump crab meat
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Brush the cut sides of squash with 6 tablespoons of the butter. Season with the salt, pepper and thyme. Place the squash cut side down in a baking dish and bake until tender, approximately 1 1⁄2 hours. Cool, scoop out the pulp from the skin.
  3. Puree the squash in a food processor with roasted red pepper. Reserve.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare garnish. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add prosciutto slices and cook until crisp, a few minutes per side. Drain on paper towel lined plate.
  5. Melt butter in saute pan over medium high heat. Add Panko crumbs and stir until crumbs begin to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add crab, continue to stir an additional minute. Transfer to plate and reserve.
  6. In a large saucepot, heat the olive oil and add the onions and leeks. Sweat over low heat. Add the puree of the butternut squash, and stock. Bring to a boil and then lower heat; simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream.
  7. Garnish with crispy prosciutto and toasted crab crumbs

Dinner and a Movie: Fried Green Tomatoes

Remember the movie Fried Green Tomatoes with Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates?  Well I hadn’t seen it since its debut in 1991, so when my daughters asked me what it was about while searching through Netflix,  I told them I really couldn’t remember, but I knew that I liked it, and thought it would make a could pick for our family movie night.

Since we planned to watch the movie together, I thought it would be fun to make some fried green tomatoes for dinner to go along with our theme for the evening. Though my kids really preferred the traditional version of fried green tomatoes dipped in a buttermilk/ranch type dressing, my husband and I really enjoyed this version, with the flavors of fresh corn, basil, crab, and roasted red peppers.

The combination of the crisp, corn meal crusted exterior, and the warm,  tangy interior of the tomatoes make them hard to resist, no matter how you eat them; that’s one thing we all agreed.

Though I usually wait to make fried green tomatoes until I have  end- of -the season green tomatoes left on the vine, I’m glad I plucked a few early to make this dish. They were a welcomed treat. And the movie? Just as wonderful as I had remembered, with a storyline the whole family enjoyed.

For the Corn & Avocado Relish:

Kernels from 4 ears of corn

1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, diced

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup basil leaves (I used purpled ruffled leafed basil) cut into chiffonade

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.

For Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Coulis:

2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded

2 large plum tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Place peppers and tomatoes directly on grill rack and grill until skin on peppers and tomatoes chars and begins to blister, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill; cool slightly, and remove skin from peppers and tomatoes. Chop and place in blender. Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Reserve at room temperature until ready to serve.

For the tomatoes:

1 cup stone-ground cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 large unripe tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, ends removed

1/2 cup canola oil

1 pound lump crab meat

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together. Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels.


Have the relish and coulis prepared and ready to go, so that when you are finished frying the tomatoes, your assembly will be quick, allowing the tomatoes to stay warm and crisp.

Spoon 3 tablespoons of the coulis onto serving plate. Place one fried green tomato atop coulis. Spoon 1/4 of crab onto tomato slice. Top with second tomato slice. Spoon 1/4 cup corn/avocado relish over 2nd tomato slice. Top with 3rd tomato slice and garnish with additional relish.

Repeat with remaining ingredients.

4 servings


Masa Harina Crusted Crab Cakes with Blistered Pepper Sauce

When I start to think about making crab cakes, I can’t help but think of that scene in Forrest Gump when Bubba starts rambling on about all of the different ways to cook shrimp. I kinda feel that way about crab too.

I make crab cakes with all sorts of flavors. If I’m in the mood for Asian, I add lemongrass and ginger to the filling, dip in panko, and pair with  some sort of soy based sauce. Sometimes, I want to go a more traditional route and keep it simple with lemon and parsley.

For the times I am in the mood for southwestern, this is the crab cake I turn to. I’ve added a bit of masa harina (the traditional corn flour used to make tamales and tortillas) to give it a warm flavor distinct to Mexican cooking. Instead of the traditional remoulade, I serve the crab cakes with this brightly colored blistered pepper sauce and black bean mango salad. This presentation is a great way to get the  “wow factor” going  when the dish comes to the table.

If you are looking for a litle something different in a crab cake, I urge you to give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Masa Harina Crusted Crab Cakes with Blistered Pepper Sauce

1 1/4 cups Masa Harina (corn tortilla mix)

1 pound lump crab meat

3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

7 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

2 tablespoons olive oil


4 grilled red bell peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chipotle puree

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup canola oil or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread Masa Harina on heavy baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Mix crab meat, bell pepper, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime juice and lemon peel in medium bowl. Mix in 3/4 cup toasted Masa Harina. Season to taste with salt. Shape crab mixture into 8 patties.  Place remaining Masa Harina in shallow dish. Add crab cakes 1 at a time, turning to coat. Transfer to baking sheet. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add crab cakes in batches and cook until browned and heated through, about 2 minutes per side.  Note: you may make keep the cooked crab cakes at room temperature up to 2 hours ahead. Place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and reheat at 375 for 7 minutes.

For Sauce: Combine peppers, onion, garlic, vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle and salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified.

To  plate:

Spoon about 1/3 of a cup of the sauce in the center of each plate. Top with a crab cake. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the *Black Bean and Mango Salad over the crab cake.

Black Bean and Mango Salad

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 ripe Mango, peeled, pitted, and finely diced

1/2 small onion, finely diced

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded, and finely diced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper