Hello there! If you are observing lent, this is the perfect recipe to start your seafood Friday rituals. Matoutou or Matete de Crabes, with the accent of both “e” vowels is pronounced as it is read. Originated from the Caribbean or “les Antilles,” it is a marvelous dish when prepared with fresh ingredients. It is usually made with a type of crab called Crabe de terre or “Cardisoma guanhumi, commonly known as the West Indies common land crab, white land crab or blue land crab is a crab of the genus Cardisoma belonging to the family of Gecarcinidae who lives on the coast American of the Atlantic north.” (wikipedia, 2015 – http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardisoma_guanhumi
Because many of us are not living in the Caribbean or can afford to travel there during lent and eat fresh crabs, I decided to bring the Caribbean to you. Yes! A substitution if you cannot find fresh crabs in your local fish market.
Store bought packed crabmeat can sometimes be substituted for fresh crabmeat. Many of us do not live in countries or states where fresh crabs are normally available, packages or containers of jumbo lump crabmeat sold in markets ready to use are a great substitution. And please do not substitute real crabmeat for the fake crabmeat. Treat yourself a little; you deserve it because it is so worth it. I am talking about the good stuff. No imitation! The real crabmeat!
The first time I made this dish, I was astonished by the amount of hot pepper. I am not going to lie; I drank so much ice-cold water that my belly was full of water and not food. I have learned to either not use any pepper and just add my regular Haitian Pikliz, or add very little hot pepper during cooking. I have to say that my Pikliz made it all good!
I have changed the recipe-using store bought ready to use packed jumbo lump crabmeat because of practicality. For the hot pepper, you can either choose to remove it or leave or better yet, add your own hot pepper and have fun eating it.
Here is my recipe for Matete de Crabes made the jumbo lump crabmeat with fresh herbs and spice.
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- 8 ounces or 1 cup ready to use Jumbo Lump Crabmeat claws preferred
- 1 tablespoon lemon/lime juice
- 3 scallions
- ½ tablespoon chives finely chopped
- 2 medium size shallots sliced
- 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2-3 juicy tomatoes seeds removed and quartered
- 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon hot pepper habanero or scotch bonnet, optional
- 2 cup cooked white rice
- Drain the liquid from the crabmeat if any, add the lemon or lime juice and set aside. In a pot under medium high heat, add oil. Add shallots, chives, garlic, parsley, tomatoes, cloves, salt, pepper, hot pepper if using and bay leaves. Cook for about 2 minutes and add crabmeat. Let mixture cook under medium to high heat for about 5 - 7 minutes stirring very gently not to break the crabmeat too much. Add cooked white rice and let simmer for 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Alternatively, cook the rice in a fish or crustacean broth for more flavors or use seafood seasoning.
- If using real crabs, you will need about 8 crabs
- Clean the crabs and douse with limejuice. (Will need about 6 limes) Crush them slightly and place in a large stewpot along with the oil, chives, shallots, tomatoes, juice of 2 limes, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, cloves, seafood seasoning diluted in water. Cook 15 minutes on high heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and add hot pepper. Let simmer for 30 – 40 minutes. Serve with cooked rice.