- Boil pasta water in extra-large pot and salt water before boiling pasta (the water should be as salty as sea water.)
- Cook macaroni until almost tender. Drain well without rinsing.
- Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Farenheit; spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine the milk, half-and-half, four, and pepper in another large pot over medium heat. Stir in the cheeses one at a time and whisk to eliminate clumps.
- Add the noodles and mix thoroughly until pasta is mixed with the cheese mixture.
- Fold in crabmeat gently and mix through.
- Top dish with remaining crabmeat and Panko crumbs. If desired, dab butter on top of dish.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.
- Uncover after 15 minutes and broil for 3 minutes (watching the dish like the proverbial hawk).
- Remove from oven and let the dish rest for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
It’s 20 days into Blue Crab Month here on Pescetarian Journal, and my husband says we’re eating like rich people. Granted, fresh Maryland blue crab costs more than pasteurized crab from somewhere else, but the taste, the texture, and the sweetness of local blue crab is worth more pennies per ounce.
I’m excited to introduce “Sustainable Seafood Supper Night.” Starting with this post, I’m planning to offer weekly meal ideas featuring sustainable seafood–and since it happens to be Blue Crab Month, what better comfort food for mid-September than Blue Crab Mac ‘n Cheese ? A mix of comfort and class, elbow macaroni and cheeses blended with Maryland blue crab heightens the “nom” factor of mac ‘n cheese tremendously. Why Maryland crab, you might ask?
Well, Maryland’s fisheries have sought to set itself apart from the competition in the packaged crab meat market by applying for certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, which would allow Maryland to sell its crab as a “sustainable” product. According to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch” organization, blue crab “has the potential to support a sustainable fishery” but must first rebound from serious declines of previous decades. Seafood Watch currently rates blue crab–also supplied from the Gulf Coast, Venezuala, and the Far East–as a “good alternative” seafood. This means there are concerns about the blue crab’s habitat, but the seafood has the potential to be a “best choice,” sustainable seafood.
This dish packs more fiber with whole-wheat elbow macaroni and is a bit lighter than the recipe that inspired my version. Surprise and impress your friends or family one weeknight soon with this flavorful and filling Blue Crab Mac ‘n Cheese dish.
Blue Crab Mac ‘n Cheese (Adapted from Crab Macaroni and Cheese by Judy Colbert, author of Chesapeake Bay Crabs, 2011, Pelican Publishing.)
12 ounces whole wheat, elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cup soy milk (or low-fat milk)
16 ounces organic half-and-half (from pastured cows, if possible)
2 teaspoons unbleached white flour (organic if possible)
3/4 cup organic bleu cheese, grated
1/4 cup organic parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 organic ricotta cheese
16 ounces fresh blue crabmeat (6 ounces reserved for topping)
freshly cracked black pepper
4 teaspoons Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons organic, unsalted butter (optional)