WFD: Snow Crab Legs, Amazing wilted escarole and frisee

February 22, 2008


Ahhh, crab legs. Nothing quite says the sea like tearing up legs off a poor old crab. It has been blooming ages since I have done anything with crab, and figured this would be a rather quick meal. To be honest, this one was more down to Danika – we were in Whole Foods today, and saw some completely brilliant looking crab legs on sale, and she convinced me into doing crab tonight, when I had my heart set on some petrale sole. The sole can wait for another night, these things were bloody awesome.

They were pre-cooked. Danika has a problem with me boiling live crabs and lobsters (one can hardly blame her), however mussels and clams are fair game apparently. To be honest, if I don’t have to plunge them to impending doom in a pan of boiling water, that works fine for me. So the crab was rather simple really – just crack open the legs and eat. No butter, no garlic, no oil – that was all on these startlingly good wilted greens.

The greens were based around a recipe that Matthew Amster-Burton (mamster) over at RootsAndGrubs. If you don’t know Matthew’s blog, shame on you… He is a local Seattle food writer, and rather decent cook. I have to say I really enjoy his writing – most of his blog is about his culinary adventures with his young daughter Iris, who seems to have a passion for steak houses at the moment. Good lass though, she knows here stuff – medium rare is how she likes her steak. Anyhow, his blog is a great read – up front, honest writing, humorous and very cut to the chase. I also owe quite a bit the bloke, he has helped me no end with developments to the Wrightfood cookbook (still in the works). I owe the guy a beer, or 10.


Anyhow, he recently posted an entry about his visit to Campagne, a local Seattle French restaurant with his daughter Iris, for steak frites. Served with the steak was some wilted escarole and chard, along with some cheesy butter.

Matt decided to have a go at wilting light greens himself at home, and did a rather bloody decent job of it. He used escarole and chard, with just equal amounts of olive oil and butter, a little garlic, and a decent helping of lemon juice.

This sounded bloody tasty to me, and a rather fitting accompaniment to some crab legs. I decided to change it up a bit though – a different green, and some parsley. Details are below!

I think I am going to try this also with the classic mixture “fines herbs”. A delicate blend of fresh parsley, chevil, chives and tarragon. This should lend a really aromatic flavor to the greens.


Wilted Escarole and Frisee

1 head of escarole

1 head of frisee

1 clove of garlic – crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil (good quality)

1 tablespoon butter

small handful chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1/2 small lemon – juiced

Wash and dry the greens. Tear them by hand into medium-small pieces. In a large saute pan over a medium heat get the butter and olive oil hot. Add the garlic and toss in the greens. Gently mix to coat the greens in the fat and garlic. Let wilt slightly, then pop the lid on the pan for a couple of minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice and sprinkle on the parsley. Lightly toss and serve immediately.

Hats off to you Matthew, this is a stunner.



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  • Rhiannon February 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    I love the pictures! It makes me wish I ate meat (seafood in this case) Yum! Stunning colours!

  • mattwright February 22, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks! You could the greens though, which were really great. Hats off to you, I don’t how I could ever stop eating seafood.

  • white on rice couple February 23, 2008 at 5:15 am

    The both of us should really eat more seafood, especially crab legs. They’re not that easy to get fresh down here, ironically. And we’re next to the ocean! And you really should buy your friend a 24 pack of beer, if he’s really been that helpful with your book. 🙂

  • Syrie February 24, 2008 at 12:57 am

    beautiful photos and looks delicious too!