Is it a vegetable? Is it meat? Nope – its fruit! A tropical fruit that grows on the trees throughout Fiji and other tropical countries. When I was younger I’d see my parents get a whole fresh jackfruit from the Asian markets and it was the most intimidating thing I’d ever seen. I refused to eat it because I couldn’t imagine it tasting good. Here I am in my thirties now posting about how much I love a food I once refused to eat. In fact a part of me is still intimated by the spikey nature of this fruit, that I opt for the canned or frozen version of jackfruit.
Growing up in Rhode Island, grocery shopping consisted of several stops. Friday nights my mom would take me to the regular local grocery store for the basic essentials, bread, milk and eggs. It was the Saturday morning trips that always felt like an adventure. We would drive into Providence to go to the Chinese markets. One for seafood – which I dreaded because of the fish market smells and quite frankly the crabs and fish eyes scared the hell out of me when I was younger -and another Chinese market right across the street from the fish market for vegetables. The last stop would be the small Indian stores for more vegetables. If it wasn’t a seafood weekend, it was most likely a chicken weekend. For that we’d travel to the famous Federal Hill in Providence where we’d go to Antonelli’s Poultry, the only live poultry store in Rhode Island.
Okay so I have to be completely honest here, I am petrified of preparing crabs. My father has always taken care of the purchasing, killing and cleaning of the crabs. They have always scared me. In fact I remember having a nightmare as a child of a crab chasing me down the stairs at my childhood home. (if my cousin Ameeta is reading this YOU KNOW!) Ha, I know it sounds crazy but I am not exaggerating. So yes, truth be told my dad did clean the crabs for me for this recipe and probably will for as long as he can! lol.
However, if you are like me and this may be the first time you are cleaning a crab, I’ve researched that a humane way of killing crabs is to put them in the freezer for about two hours, then when you take them out you can remove their legs. Remove their top shell and clean out the insides.
Whenever you are making crabs you should always cook the crab within 1 or 2 days of purchasing the crab, while the meat is at its freshest. In the past we’ve tried to freeze crab but the meat becomes hard to get out of the shell and just not as juicy as when it is cooked fresh.