08 February 2013

Dungeness Crab and Noodle Soup

By Dustin Clark Executive Chef of Wildwood Restaurant

When the biting cold winter weather finally strikes, nothing is more satisfying and restorative than a hot bowl of soup, but sipping on the basic beef, bean, and root vegetable stews day after day can quickly kill some of the love for comfort food. Luckily for us, winter in Oregon also means fresh Dungeness crab!

This is a satisfying seafood soup, concentrated oceanic flavor and the delicate richness of the claws and body meat. Crab shells lend great flavor to broths and butters. I could happily use brown butter into every dish, but here I’ve chosen to follow Asian influences for this particular soup, adding flavor and depth with ingredients like ginger, lime, and cilantro, that lend to lighter fare – perfect for keeping those new years resolutions!

Wildwood is a Portland institution that helped launch Pacific Northwest cuisine. Fresh, local ingredients are served in an evocative, ever-changing menu that is approachable and modern, with international influences like French, Italian, Indian, and Eastern European. Wildwood strives to provide excellence in all aspects of dining – from cuisine, to wine and spirits, to service. Wildwood is one of the most acclaimed and well-known restaurants in Oregon, and its dedicated staff is committed to providing the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Crab Broth:
2-4 Dungeness crabs
8 pork bones split
6 oz ginger root cut lengthwise
1 head garlic
3 yellow onions cut in half
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch thai basil
2 oz squid brand fish sauce
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
8 ea star anise
1 T dried shrimp

To make the crab broth: Boil crabs in well-seasoned water for 12 minute. Allow to cool. Remove meat – reserve both shell and meat. Heat oven to 400 F. Roast pork bones until golden brown. Add crab shells and continue to roast until very aromatic. Place bones and shells in a stock pot. Over a flame, char ginger, onion, and cinnamon until slightly over caramelized, then add to the pot. Toast star anise and dried shrimp in oven until fragrant, then add to the pot. Pick leaves of basil and cilantro reserving for garnish. Add stems to the bones and cover with water. Simmer stock for 2 to 3 hrs. Stain and reduce by 1/3. Season with fish sauce.

Broth from above recipe
Reserved crab meat
Thick rice noodle soaked
½ red onion shaved

½ bunch scallions sliced
Cilantro leaf
Thai basil leaf
Bean sprouts
10 birds eye chiles sliced
3 limes cut into wedges
sesame oil

To make the soup: Boil thick noodles until tender 15 minutes. Bring prepared broth to a boil. In serving bowls, place hot noodles, crab meat, and shaved onion. Pour hot broth over and serve with garnishes.