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Why I Love The Beach

Reason #564: Capt. Neill's.

Just off the highway and down a quiet side street in Columbia, NC lies the unassuming Capt. Neill's seafood packing plant. They don't seem to market directly to the public, but locals know it's the place to stop in and get fresh crabmeat, if it's available on any given day. I made my first solo trip to Capt. Neill's last week to check out the offerings for myself. I was floored: For what you can buy 4 oz. of fresh crabmeat in Greensboro, you can buy a pound at Capt. Neill's. Needless to say, I drove away with more than one pound.

I had intentions to use the crabmeat over the weekend while we were entertaining, but we had so much food on hand that I froze it and brought it home with me. Yesterday, I thawed some out to make crab bisque. I think I may have made it a little too wine-y for drmellow's tastes, but it was very much to my own liking. My standard bisque recipe calls for 6 oz. of crabmeat. Pshaw! Why use only 6 oz. when I had more in the freezer? I used an entire pound. Crab heaven.

I love crab bisque, and it's just about the easiest thing in the world to make. And very open to adaptation. It even gave me an excuse to use my new 8-qt. stock pot. Here's the recipe I work from, if anyone's up for a simple, summer seafood adventure. It also makes a great soup course for dinners during the Christmas season, since the celery and pimiento impart some nice red and green flecks to the bowl.

What you'll need:

2 ribs celery, diced fine (more or less, depending on how chunky you want the bisque)
1 Tbsp./small jar diced pimiento (more if you feel like it)
1 bottle of clam juice
Some flour
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. half-and-half
Some white wine
6 oz. fresh crabmeat, picked over for shell
Fresh cracked pepper

Add a Tbsp. or so of butter to the bottom of your stock pot and sautee the celery. Add the pimiento and sautee for a minute or two longer. Whisk some flour (I use anywhere from 3-6 Tbsp.) with the bottle of clam juice to prevent clumping, then add the mixture to the pot. (Use more or less flour, depending on how thick you want the bisque.) Add a cup each of heavy cream and half-and-half, stirring well. Now, for the wine: Any good white wine will do. A cup-and-a-half is a good place to start, but you may wish to add more or less, to taste. The important thing is for the wine to impart a nice flavor to the bisque, not overpower it. Finally, add the crabmeat (more if you like) and cook for a few minutes longer until the meat is tender (but not rubbery). Season to taste with freshly cracked pepper and salt (I usually start with about 1/2 tsp. each). Mmm!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 16th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
NC shopping tips please. Or in this case...

Do you know of a mall out past The Egg, maybe in WV called Liberty something mall - where there is sposed to be a JC Penny outlet store?

Or do you know of a JC Penny outlet store near us anywhere?

Glad you got some good fresh crabs, stale crabs can't be good.

Have the best

Sep. 16th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
I didn't know of one off the top of my head, but I came up with this:

Liberty Fair Mall - J C Penney Outlet
240 Commonwealth Blvd W
Martinsville, VA 24112

Hope that helps!
Sep. 16th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
I just want to say that I'm a little bit jealous. OK, a lot jealous. There's just something about simple seafood places like that. They don't seem to exist on this side of the world. Here, it's more frou-seafood than simple seafood dishes. I like frou every once in awhile, but sometimes fried fish or just picking crabs is more fulfilling.
Sep. 17th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
I guess you could always throw some crabpots out in the Bay and catch some of those Dungeness crabs you seem to have out there...

Oh, wait. Now I'm jealous. ;)
Sep. 18th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)
In the future, for those of us who are cooking impaired (apparently a dash of salt is nowhere near a tablespoon of salt) can you use more specific measurements? ;)

But YUMMMMMMMMMMM that sounds so good. I am so jealous of the POUND of crabmeat.
Sep. 19th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
In the instructions below the list, I noted that the butter, flour, wine, salt and pepper should be added to taste, but I also included the quantities of those ingredients that I usually use as a guideline. Is there anything in particular you'd like me to be more specific about?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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