Cornmeal is a favorite ingredient in cooking in many countries. In baking, many bakers use it to dust their baking sheet which helps develop a nice crust in bread. Semolina is another ingredient many bakers use in baked goods. But this recipe is not about baked goods; it is a Caribbean one-pot comfort meal.
Cornmeal is a typical staple food and is ground fine, medium and coarse consistency. It is a versatile grain and a great alternative to rice. From breakfast, lunch to dinner, the recipes are endless. And let’s not forget about supper! Yes, in many cultures, supper is eaten around 6 – 7 pm. If cornmeal is served, it is usually in porridge form or a sweet polenta recipe. Let’s not forget about dessert as there are several delicious recipes as well.
If you’ve never added blue crab in cornmeal or any other type of grains, you are in for a surprise. Any kinds of seafood you are adding to a grains dish must be seasoned separately. The reason is simple; you want a well-seasoned dish. Have you ever taste let’s say rice, and the seafood is seasoned well. Exactly! You will taste some seasoning, but the recipe will not be that flavorful.
Spinach is one of the healthiest green leafy vegetables that are full of flavor, full of antioxidant and one of the most used in Caribbean cuisine. In the Caribbean, you will mostly find the sizeable leafy type of spinach. You will see the same in the States as well. Whichever type you want to use in the recipe is excellent. You will have the same taste result. There are several recipes including spinach.
The spices for this recipe are simple. Noubess Seafood Seasoning was used to season the blue crabs, and Noubess Hot and Spicy Original with Herbs was used to add flavor, taste, and aroma to the one-pot meal. Fresh herbs and spices are also part of this delicious meal.
This recipe is served as a full meal. No side dishes are served. The only ingredient or a side dish as you may want to call it is avocado. Cornmeal and avocado are usually served together for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It does not matter the way the cornmeal is cooked; avocado is always present. The only exception will be if the cornmeal is served sweetened.
For the recipe, I used 2 cups of cornmeal to serve 6 – 8 people. Cornmeal takes a long time to cook. The coarser or larger the grains are, the longer the cooking process will be. Cooking cornmeal is almost like an art. You need the right seasoning, and you must also add your veggies or meat at the right time.
One thing you must always do is cooking the grains with either a wooden spoon or a sturdy spoon spatula. The reason is that it will be easier to manage. Making a polenta meal is the same as well.
Here’s the slideshow showing how we made this delicious recipe.
Here’s the recipe.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 ½ cup diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Noubess Hot and Spicy Pineapple with Herbs
- 2 tablespoons Noubess Seafood Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 4 cups hot water
- Additional seasoning Noubess Seafood Seasoning or regular chicken bouillon
- Seasoned Blue Crabs or shrimp
- 4 cups baby spinach or chopped regular spinach
- Season with salt or additional seasoning
- Bouquet garni parsley and thyme only
- 4 cups hot water plus more
- Seasoned Blue Crab
- 4 - 6 medium blue crabs gutted and cleaned
- 1 tablespoon Noubess Seafood Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 1 medium onion chopped or sliced
- Noubess Seafood Seasoning
- To make blue crabs
- In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and seafood seasoning and set aside. In a skillet, heat oil, add onion, bay leaf and cook for about 3 - 5 minutes. Add crabs and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- To make Cornmeal
- Add oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, scallions and saute for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, Hot and Spicy Pineapple sauce and cook 2 - 4 minutes until the tomatoes have started to release their juice. Add seafood seasoning, salt and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add cornmeal and stir to mix all ingredients. Continue to stir while cooking for 3 minutes. Add bouquet garni (parsley and thyme). Add 4 cups hot water and bring to a boil. Season to taste with additional seasoning.
- Occasionally stir mixture to help cornmeal cook faster, not stick to the bottom of the pan and to remove any lumps.
- Add more hot water when necessary to fully cook the cornmeal. In the last 1 - 15 minutes of cooking, add blue crabs and cook for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and mix well. Add flaxseed meal and mix well. Continue to cook until the cornmeal is fully cooked, the crabs are fully cooked and the spinach leaves are cooked as well.
- Remove and serve immediately.
Reheat cornmeal normally, no need to add water.
We add flaxseed not only for health reason but also to keep the cornmeal soft.
You can replace blue crabs with shrimp. Season the same way but cook in cornmeal. Shrimp do not take a long time to cook. If you want to cook the shrimp separately, you can do so, but mix them with the cornmeal before serving.
To measure cornmeal, 1 cup might serve 2 - 4 people depending on portion amount. Two cups will be sufficient for 6 - 8 people and again depending on portion size.
Always add hot water to cornmeal.
Use a wooden spoon or sturdy spoon spatula.