Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chair #314

—Designer unknown

This is a nineteenth-century grotto chair crafted in the shape of the crab, and it's from the collection of Ariane Dandois in Paris. Man made grottos were all the rage back in the romantic era. Think of Mad King Ludwig and the grotto he had built at Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria—all part of his grand homage to Richard Wagner. The grotto was an artificial stalactite cavern, complete with a waterfall. He'd float around in a boat and crank the Wagner up to 11. This crab chair would be absolutely perfect in Ludwig's grotto. Ahh, lifestyles of those crazy rich an famous, eh?

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She Crab Soup

2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups half & half cream
4 teaspoons finely grated onion
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/4 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest (rind)
1 1/2 pounds flaked blue crab (or dungeness crab) meat
1/4 cup crab roe or 2 crumbled hard cooked egg yolks
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large, heavy pot over low heat, melt butter; add flour and blend until smooth. Slowly add milk and half & half cream, stirring constantly with a whisk; cook until thickened. Add onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, white pepper, mace, cayenne pepper, and lemon zest. Bring just to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, add crabmeat and crab roe or crumbled hard-cooked egg yolks; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add sherry, stirring to mix. Let sit for 3 to 4 minutes before serving.To serve, pour the soup into individual heated soup bowls, dividing the crabmeat and roe equally into each bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

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