Alaskan King Crab is a mild, sweet shellfish that is used for its legs, which can often be a couple feet long. The crabs themselves are large, spiny tank-like creatures that now average about ten pounds, but can reach much larger sizes.
As documented in “The Deadliest Catch”, King Crab fishing is statistically the most dangerous profession in the United States. Due to freezing temperatures, raging seas, crab pots that weigh over one ton and a frantic work schedule that includes little rest, crab season in Alaskan waters usually leads to the death of one fisherman per day.
The window for King Crab system is based on the estimated population, and is currently only two weeks. Because of its highly regulated harvest in the United States, it is considered sustainable seafood. Russia, however, does not regulate the fishing of King Crabs, driving the population down in their waters and driving down the price of the product on the global market, impacting both the sustainability of the species and the livelihoods of American fisherman that risk their lives each season in Alaska.
This dish features the King Crab leg in a terrine that was made by one of our Sous Chefs, Lauren Roeder. She used a shellfish mousseline to bind the crab legs together. Once it has been cooked and cooled, it is portioned and vacuum packed in bags with whole butter to hold for service. We reheat the crab terrine sous vide in a simmering water bath.
Along with the crab is a summer “succotash” featuring fresh corn, edamame beans, sungold tomatoes and piquillo peppers.
The starch is a potato risotto, one of my favorite and most under-used preparations of potato. Idaho potatoes, like short-grain varieties of rice, are rich in amylopecin which is the soft and clear/white starch that is often associated with risotto. The potatoes are cut into a small dice and cooked with a risotto method. Simply cook the potatoes (and a little shallot for flavor) with chicken or vegetable stock until reduced, deglaze the pan with stock and reduce again, then finish with heavy cream, parmesan-reggiano, kosher salt, freshly ground white pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Make sure to stir frequently to release the starch from the potatoes. The result should be a very creamy, rich dish that still has discernable and uniformly diced cuts of potato.
The plate is finished with a bacon and red onion vinaigrette. To make this I simply render a small dice of bacon, sauté a small dice of red onion, deglaze with chicken stock and flavor with apple cider vinegar, dark brown sugar and whole grain mustard. I thicken it slightly with cornstarch since it will be served warm. If you wanted to serve it room temperature or cold then you would strain out all garnish and thicken in a blender with xanthum gum before adding the garnish back. Like most vinaigrettes I finish this with fresh herbs (chives, parsley and thyme) and season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.