So I've been indulging in home-steamed Dungeness crab about an average of once a wk. Prices in my area of NoCal keep dropping, which makes it all too easy to feed my addiction.
Thanks to hound Gordon Wing, I learned how to not waste the crab 'schmoo' (scroll for previous post). But wanted to find some use for all those crab shell bits I'd been tossing away.
Been keeping my nose in Tony Bourdain's new book, and leave it to him to convince me that a serious home cook needs to use homemade stock for optimal results. So when I had remnants from 2 whole crabs the other night, wondered why I couldn't try my hand at crab stock. Sure, most online recipes called for the whole crab, meat and all, but wouldn't hurt to try it w/o the meat.
What I did based on instinct and some experience: put a little olive oil in bottom of stock pot; added crab shell bits after getting rid of unwanted parts (no fallopian tubes, thank you!); sauteed for a min.; added splash of sherry and then lots of H20 til water level exceeded contents; added aromatics on hand: quartered onion, carrot, fennel stalks and leaves, fresh parsley, bay leaf. When came to boil, added good amt. of salt and some pepper. Simmered for 1.5 hrs. and adjusted seasoning before taking off heat. Strained and rendered about 15 cups of fragrant crab stock. Crab flavor was subtle but present; fennel was more dominant.
Used the stock for an improvised risotto w/ shrimp, peas, and mint last night and it was the BEST risotto that I've ever made...Tony B. is right. Can also see myself using in: Tony B.'s fennel and tomato soup; seafood stews; certain cream soups and chowders.
Only downside is that place smells a bit fishy w/ all that crab and shrimp, but "it stinks..." thread should help w/ that.