Sunday, November 21, 2010

You May Call It Cheek, Butt I Know Better

With the current trend of snout-to-tail cuisine it isn’t uncommon to find unusual animal parts--tail, cheek, belly, brains, and bone marrow--showing up in gourmet grocery stores and on menus everywhere. For that reason I wasn’t surprised to learn that my father had some crab cheeks in the freezer. In fact, my mouth began to water as I remembered the yummy halibut cheeks we cooked up last year. However, when I saw the palm sized medallions I couldn’t help but wonder who was the butt of this unusual joke. Unless the meat before me was harvested from a King Kong sized crab there was no way we were about to eat crab cheeks. Then it dawned on me that they were not crab cheeks, but rather a crab’s cheek, and that we were about to prepare a meal of crab butt.

I guess this Alaskan delicacy, which slowly is making its way to the lower 48 states, can’t exactly market itself as butt, and tail would probably leave consumers envisioning something lobster like. So crab cheek, though perhaps a bit misleading, is the perfect name for that part of the crab that was previously left out of the kitchen.
Poached in a simple wine sauce our meal exceeded expectations. The meat was not the dense morsels that I associate with crab knuckles and legs. Instead, it was delicate and flakey, with a sweet and subtle flavor. I am not sure texture and flavor of the crustacean’s tail-end will be enough to win over leg-lovers. However, I do see a following among those who prefer a less messy, hassle free dining experience.

1 comment:

  1. I don't care what you call it, I'm sure it will taste delicious