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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Crab Royal – King Crab. King Crab is an Imported Delicacy but Holds an Important Place in French Cuisine.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman
   
King Crab.
This is a six and one-half kilo (14.3 lb) King Crab.
Photograph courtesy of  A. Lau.
 
The King Crab also called the Alaskan King Crab or Kamchatka King Crab has just as many names on French Menus: Crab Royal, Crabe Royal d’Norvege or Crabe Royal de Kamchatka.

France loves crab, and the white meat of one or more of these tasty crustaceans will be on the menus of nearly French seafood restaurants.  The locally caught crabs the Crabe Tourteau, the Edible Brown Crab, and the Crab Araignée, the European Spider Crab are the most popular, they are tasty and relatively inexpensive. The Snow Crab, the Crabe de Neige, follows on as the leading imported crab but the most highly rated imported crab is the expensive King Crab.  The King Crab, the Crab Royal, with its snowy white meat and very special taste and texture has no competition at the top of the popularity polls.
  
King crab legs on sale in the market.

A whole king crab will not be on the menu.

Until the early 2000s, most King Crabs (Alaskan) arrived in France in cans at very high prices; all these King Crabs came from the Northern Pacific.  Even now with the King Crabs coming from Norway, you are unlikely to see a whole fresh King Crab in a restaurant as a large crab can weigh 10 kg and measure 1.5 meter from leg to leg. Even the average King Crab weighs around two and a half kilos and its body contains no meat that most of us would want to eat.
  
The king crab and an ecological disaster.
   
The king crab on French and European menus today is the result of a man-made ecological disaster that has, so far, become a goldmine. In the 1960s the Russians put large quantities of the Kamchatka king crabs from the North Pacific on a train and shipped them on the Trans-Siberian railroad to their port at Murmansk a distance of 5743 kilometers (3568 miles).  They had no controls or evaluations but they wanted to create a Russian crabbing industry in the North Atlantic.   There in the Murmansk Fjord, the crabs multiplied and multiplied and destroyed the local fishermen’s nets along with much of the local fishing industry and then they moved swiftly to Norwegian waters. Then the Russians and Norwegians were forced to co-operate to control this disaster, and one of the few results (at least in the short term) has been the creation of a new crabbing industry. Many fishermen have given up their nets and become crabbers who receive more Euros per kilo that for any other commercial catch. However, the story does not end here, and the crabs are continuing to move along the Norwegian coast, and eating a lot of Norwegian King Crab may still not be enough to save the cod fisheries.

The Red King Crab on French menus:

La Soupe de Crabe Royal – A soup made from the King Crab. (The crab’s body may be used for crab flavor and other seafood products, but it will not be on the menu and in France rarely used in crab soup).
  
Steamed king crab in a cream sauce.
www.flickr.com/photos/cityfoodsters/12163045876/

Pattes de Crabe Royal avec Sauce Dijon Crémeuse- King's crab legs served with a creamy Dijon mustard sauce.

Pattes de Crabe Royal Grillées  – Grilled king crab's legs.
   

Surf and Turf
Steak, King Crab and asparagus.
www.flickr.com/photos/ret0dd/4383729622/

Pattes de Crabe Royal Cuites à la Vapeur - Steamed King Crab's legs.

Ravioli de Crabe Royal au Bouillon de Citronnelle et Gingembre - King Crab prepared as ravioli and served in a bouillon flavored with lemongrass and ginger.

Raviolis Ouverts de Crabe Royal et Caviar d'Aquitaine – Open ravioli (flat disks of pasta) filled with king crab and the Caviar d'Aquitaine, a brand name for the farmed Siberian sturgeon caviar from the Gironde River.  The Gironde River once had its own wild sturgeon but over-fishing ended that and now sturgeon farms there and elsewhere in Europe supply 90% of the caviar consumed in Europe and also export to the USA.
   
Coal-Roasted King Crab.
www.flickr.com/photos/loustejskal/24308115705/

French chefs consider the Norwegian King Crab better than the Alaskan King Crab though they are the same crab from albeit from different waters; their taste buds may be influenced by Norway being part of Europe, though it is not part of the EU.  The main King Crab crabbing season is from October to January though they may be caught as a by-catch all year round.  The Red King Crabs from the North Atlantic are also becoming more important for another reason.  The Red King Crab's Alaskan brothers and sisters are experiencing a steady decline in numbers.  Investigations that cited overfishing resulted in fishing limits set by the United States in the 1980s and 2000.  However, those regulations have failed to stop the decline, and now warmer water from climate change is being investigated.

However, back in Norway, not everything in the garden is rosy; or rather not all the Red King Crabs are gold.  The crabs keep advancing along the Norwegian coast, and that is a new cause for worry.  Remember the story of the rabbits brought to Australia for food and hunting.  Then, despite all attempts at control, Australia now has a population of close to 300 million wild rabbits that have caused and are causing devastation by destroying grasses, young plants, and tree bark.  That continues the ecological damage by the destruction of other species including birds and fish whose life is interlinked with the same destroyed sources of food. Bringing in new species can and does destroy local populations that have no resistance to the imports.
  
Cooking King Crab’s legs at home.
    
If you are buying King Crabs’ legs in Europe or North American, they will have been boiled and flash frozen on board or upon arrival at the fishing port before being shipped.  Read the package carefully, and you will see that despite all the recipes available all the work is basically just heating and adding flavor whether you grill, steam or roast them. Crab meat is very delicate, and so very little will be shipped without being cooked and frozen first. 
  

An entrée, the French starter, of King Crab.
www.flickr.com/photos/96550666@N08/14318731138/
   
The Red King Crab, the Crabe Royal in the languages of France’s neighbors:

 (Catalan -  crabe royal du Kamtchatka), (Dutch - rode koningskrab), (German –königskrabbe, kamtschatkakrabbe), (Italian -  granchio reale, grancevola del Kamciatka), (Spanish - cangrejo real rojo, cangrejo de Kamchatka), (Latin pParalithodes camtschaticus).

Connected Posts:


 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
on
French menus?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google. Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.
   
Bryan G. Newman
 
Behind The French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2019.

For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman
at
behindthefrenchmenu@gmail.com


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Canard Sauvage – Wild duck. Wild Duck in French Cuisine.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman
  
 
Mallard Ducks
The male has a green collar and head.
www.flickr.com/photos/backwords/5677301579/

When wild duck is on the menu in France go for it; it is entirely different to farm-raised duck. The much darker meat offers a contrast in tastes and textures that outclasses farm-raised duck; a wholly pleasurable experience and as organic and free range as you can get.  Wild duck will be on French menus between the end of September and the beginning of February.  Each French department sets its own dates for hunting wild game, and so the dates when wild duck is on the menu will vary as you travel around France,
   
A mallard coming into land.

The wild duck on your menu will be the wild mallard.
   
Many different wild ducks may be hunted in season, but the duck on your menu will be the mallard duck, the canard colvert in French.  Colvert means green collar the identifying sign of the male mallard.  The wild mallard is the most common wild duck in France, and probably the world, and it is also raised in captivity and may be on the menu of the restaurant down the street.  Nevertheless, neither of those seemingly disparaging statements alters the superb and different taste of the wild mallard.

The wild mallard is mainly vegetarian, and so it will not have the odd flavors of many other wild ducks that spend their time dipping below water into the mud to feed on shrimp and what have you. Ducks are what they eat.
   

Smoked duck breast salad.
www.flickr.com/photos/ottawaws/2331118020/

Wild duck on French menus:

Canard Sauvage Rôti en Feuilles de Vignes, Navets Nouveaux, et Figues Séchées  - Wild duck roasted with vine leaves and served with young turnips and dried figs.
     

Duck confit with roasted peaches and cherries.
www.flickr.com/photos/sanfranannie/3863540423/
    
Filet de Canard Sauvage aux Airelles, Mousseline de Céleri  -   Slices of wild duck prepared with European cranberries and accompanied by a celery puree.
 
Magret de Canard Sauvage, Jus a la Myrtille, Cèpes et Salsifis Caramélisés  -  Breast of wild duck prepared with a bilberry sauce and served with wild French porcini mushrooms and carmelized roots of salsify (also called the oyster plant).

Terrine de Canard Sauvage et sa Confiture d'Oignons au Vin de Cheverny – A pate of wild duck served with a sweet onion jam flavored with a Cheverny AOP wine. France has a number of tasty sweet onions with the most famous being the Oignon Doux des Cévennes AOP - The Sweet  Cévennes Onion.
   
and mashed (Parmentier) potatoes
flavored with France’s most flavorsome herb group, Les Fine Herbes.
www.flickr.com/photos/sushi_kato/4531739518/

Tourte de Canard Sauvage et Palombe au Foie Gras de Canard Sauce Grand Veneur – Wild duck and wood pigeon pie accompanied by foie gras (fattened duck liver) and served with a Grand Veneur Sauce.  Grand Veneur means a great hunter and the sauce is a traditional one made with red wine vinegar, butter, fresh berries, and crème fraiche.  Palombe or Pigeon Ramier, wood pigeon, is another tasty game bird. You will not find wood pigeon on many menus at home so chose it when you can.  Farmed pigeon is also a good choice throughout the year. (BTW the painter Picasso called his daughter Palombe). 
  

Duck in caramelized apple sauce.
www.flickr.com/photos/ruthanddave/102281659/

Menus that offer duck, in France as elsewhere, do not distinguish between a male duck, a canard, and a female, a cane, and when a duckling is on the menu, it will be listed as a caneton, a male duckling.

 The Dombs and wild duck.
 
I received my introduction to the wild mallard duck in the small but fast-growing town of Villars-les-Dombes situated in the farming wetlands of the Dombs. The town is just 40 km (25 miles) from the temples of the finest French cuisine in the city of Lyon but set in the heart of the Dombs.  Here there are hundreds of ponds and mini-lakes that are freshwater fish farms interspersed with agricultural land. The Rivers Ain, Saône, and the Rhône set the Dombs' borders and from time to time the ponds are drained and worked as naturally rich agricultural land; then, the land that was farmed is rested and becomes ponds and an obvious home for local and migrating birds. Here, at Villars-les-Dombes, in the hunting season, you do not have to travel far to find wild duck.  Apart from the local restaurants, there is plenty of wild duck for cooking at home and this is where a French colleague along with his wife invited me to enjoy my first French wild duck, it was prepared  with juniper berries,

Female mallard with twelve ducklings.
www.flickr.com/photos/93882360@N07/13763133924/
 
Menus may indicate a wild duck’s provenance as wild duck aficionados grade the source. Ducks are hunted along France’s Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts as well along inland wetlands. Examples on the Atlantic coast are the Bay of Somme in Picardy also well known for its Pré- Salé lamb and la Brière north of the Loire estuary just 60 km (37 miles) from the city of Nantes. On the Mediterranean coast, the center is the Camargue, the farmland, marshes, rice paddies, wetlands of the Rhone delta are famous for its organic rice and AOP beef the Taureau de Camargue.  So whether the duck on your menu listing is the Canard Sauvage de la Dombes or Canard Sauvage de Camargue, it will be the same wild mallard as elsewhere with duck’s local dining choices affecting its taste.
 
The mallard duck in the languages of France’s neighbors.

(Catalan - ànec collverd, ànec de bos), (Dutch -  wilde eend),(German – stockente). (Italian - germano reale),  (Spanish - añade real), (Latin -anas platyrhynchos).


The Mandarin Duck
 The aix galericulata a long way from home.
Photographed at the Parc Phoenix, Nice, France.
www.flickr.com/photos/berniedup/6950451856/
  
 A few of the other wild ducks in France
  
France has many other wild ducks including the Canard Chipeau - The gadwall or sand-wigeon;  Canard Pilet – the northern pintail; Canard Siffleur – the Eurasian wigeon; Canard Souchet – the shoveler or northern shoveler duck; Sarcelle d'Hiver - Eurasian teal or winter teal; and the Sarcelle d'Été – the garganey.  Licensed hunters may be permitted limited hunting of the ducks above, but their daily bags will not appear on restaurant menus.

Connected Posts:
 

 


 

 

 

 
 
 
 
   
  
 
 

 
 


 
 
Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
on
French menus?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" and search with Google. Behind the French Menu’s links include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.
   
Bryan G. Newman

Behind The French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2019.
  
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman
at

behindthefrenchmenu@gmail.com