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Which Side Dishes to Serve?


chomer
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I need ideas for what to serve with crabs. We are invited quite frequently to neighbor's crab feasts and everyone brings something. Corn, potato salad, chips/dips. I'm trying to come up with something that is crab-friendly, easy to transport, does not need to be heated (who needs hot food in this heat?) Any ideas for something a little different?

Thanks guys!

Cathy

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I need ideas for what to serve with crabs.  We are invited quite frequently to neighbor's crab feasts and everyone brings something.  Corn, potato salad, chips/dips.  I'm trying to come up with something that is crab-friendly, easy to transport, does not need to be heated (who needs hot food in this heat?)  Any ideas for something a little different? 

Thanks guys!

Cathy

Happy watermelon salad: cut one big watermelon - or two smaller ones of different colors, into 1-inch pieces, or large melon-ball size - about a gallon.

Whisk together 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (not concentrate) with 2/3 cup sugar until the sugar dissolves, then add about 1/2 cup vodka and 1/3 cup blackcurrant liqueur (crème de cassis) to it. Add a little salt to taste and pour the liquid over the watermelon. Place in a bowl or in large freezer bags and put it in the refrigerator or a cooler for a couple of hours. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup finely shredded mint right before you serve it. You can transport it in the large freezer bags. And the juice at the bottom makes good drinking too.

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You serve crabs with crabs :lol: -- I must be the odd person here.

My dad lived in Balto, and all his relatives just ate crabs. Of course this was back in the day when bars gave away crabs for free just to get you to drink more beer. I've hosted crab feasts for up to 100 (where my ex caught and steamed the crabs himself for his coworkers) from the metro area, and it amazed me when people piled their plates high with all kinds of food (salads, meat, etc.) and then put on a lone crab. My 2 kids would just laugh themselves silly.

I will admit that there's nothing like a really sweet dessert after you've stuffed yourself with crab - especially when it includes chocolate.

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  I've hosted crab feasts for up to 100 (where my ex caught and steamed the crabs himself for his coworkers) from the metro area, and it amazed me when people piled their plates high with all kinds of food (salads, meat, etc.) and then put on a lone crab.  My 2 kids would just laugh themselves silly.

I will admit that there's nothing like a really sweet dessert after you've stuffed yourself with crab - especially when it includes chocolate.

I agree with you that some people put some funny things on their plates next to A single crab. I am of the belief that nothing more than a little cole slaw or an ear of corn is needed.

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Having a family reunion/engagement party for my sister this Saturday. My idea is to marinate some rockfish in lime, chilies, annato, garlic, wrap in banana leaves and grill for 10 minutes. Then pound some chicken breasts very thin, soak in lime, tequilla and chilies, grill on super hot. Then take london broil (because it's on sale) and marinate in chilies, lime, salt, red pepper, grill, slice thin. Add some steamed corn tortillas, salsas (mango, peach, tomato, tomatillo), cheeses, pickled chilies, avacado, grilled pineapple, bowles of limes, and let everyone have at it. I can't for the life of me think of any sides. Black beans? rice? Ideas?

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Having a family reunion/engagement party for my sister this Saturday.  My idea is to marinate some rockfish in lime, chilies, annato, garlic, wrap in banana leaves and grill for 10 minutes.  Then pound some chicken breasts very thin, soak in lime, tequilla and chilies, grill on super hot.  Then take london broil (because it's on sale) and marinate in chilies, lime, salt, red pepper, grill, slice thin.  Add some steamed corn tortillas, salsas (mango, peach, tomato, tomatillo), cheeses, pickled chilies, avacado, grilled pineapple, bowles of limes, and let everyone have at it.  I can't for the life of me think of any sides.  Black beans?  rice?  Ideas?

I'm not sure if you're asking, but I'm happy to come by on Saturday and bring the black beans and rice. :P

I'd fry up some plantains, too.

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I don't see any need to pound out the chicken. I'd just grill it until it is done and then slice it up. "London broil" is usually round steak and somewhat tough. Consider using skirt steak as well. There is a latin market in Mt. Pleasent, over near where waitman lives, that sells it. I think skirt steak is what most people use for fajitas.

edited to add: consider using some cilantro and cumin in your marindaes.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux
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At the risk of being accused of heresy . . . when Adams Morgan had several Cuban restaurants, we would always get an order of fried plantains with Masitas de Puerco. Not knowing anything about selecting or cooking plaintains myself, I never tried. Then, after learning to make the Masitas at home, I discoved that Goya has frozen fried plantains (the ripe ones, not the Tostones) that taste JUST AS GOOD as what we got in the restaurants. Seriously. This may be one time to let a giant food processor help you out: you just pop them in the oven (although I have found that they need more time than the instructions on the box suggest).

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Then pound some chicken breasts very thin, soak in lime, tequilla and chilies, grill on super hot. Then take london broil (because it's on sale) and marinate in chilies, lime, salt, red pepper, grill, slice thin.
I don't see any need to pound out the chicken. I'd just grill it until it is done and then slice it up. "London broil" is usually round steak and somewhat tough. Consider using skirt steak as well. There is a latin market in Mt. Pleasent, over near where waitman lives, that sells it. I think skirt steak is what most people use for fajitas.

edited to add: consider using some cilantro and cumin in your marindaes.

I agree with JG on the chicken. Just do some trimming/butterflying to ensure relatively even thickness. However, a gentle pounding with a ribbed/cleated mallet will allow more nooks and crannies for marinade to seep in. (I have absolutely no scientific basis for this, just my own prejudice and gut instinct).

Skirt steak is definitely the fajita meat of choice.

I would probably go easy on the "hot" stuff for the marinade -- people can add thier own hotness when making up the taco/fajita. Throw some garlic and cumin in the marinade as well. I also tend to like a couple splashes of Worchestershire Sauce (if you do this omit the salt) for fajita marinades.

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I know this thread seems silly because so many things go with ham really, but I am doing family dinner before Mother's Day Brunch and I just can't think what great sides go along really well with ham. Not making scalloped potatoes that is too family reunion. I have good rustic bread and would like a some sides for a family style meal.

Thoughts?

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Well, I always say Green Bean Casserole made with good ol' canned Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup and French's Onions. Of course, I say that because it's a tradition at my family's family dinners. We once tried to make it with a fancy, "real" Mushroom Cream soup, but the broad agreement was "Back to the can!".

Oh, and some Colman's mustard and some Cumberland sauce for the ham.

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Repeating some other suggestions, but my choices would be

Mac and cheese

Green beans

Pineapple

Parker house rolls

(And you could reconsider the scalloped potatoes, maybe? We always had that with ham.)

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Repeating some other suggestions, but my choices would be

Mac and cheese

Green beans

Pineapple

Parker house rolls

(And you could reconsider the scalloped potatoes, maybe? We always had that with ham.)

Scalloped, not mashed, definitely. Actually, Mom used to use the leftover ham for scalloped potatoes with ham. One of my absolute favorite food memories. I make it, but you know...not the same.

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I guess that is what I am struggling with. I just am tired of traditional sides. I wanted this to be a little different than a normal what your grandma makes dinner. But that is what people like with ham... The problem is I am not Grandma, nor am I even Mom, so I didn't want to make that dinner. They do that well (Well, not Grandma, I don't have a Grandma, but I digress). I wanted something un-traditional, but can't think of what would be good.

I like the idea of potato salad- I can make a warm german potato salad with carmelized shallots. Perhaps the sweet potatoes with some spice. How do you do the sweet potatoes with the crushed pinneapple?

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I guess that is what I am struggling with. I just am tired of traditional sides. I wanted this to be a little different than a normal what your grandma makes dinner. But that is what people like with ham... The problem is I am not Grandma, nor am I even Mom, so I didn't want to make that dinner. They do that well (Well, not Grandma, I don't have a Grandma, but I digress). I wanted something un-traditional, but can't think of what would be good.

I like the idea of potato salad- I can make a warm german potato salad with carmelized shallots. Perhaps the sweet potatoes with some spice. How do you do the sweet potatoes with the crushed pinneapple?

I bake the potatoes in the oven on a lined sheet. After they cool a bit, I peel off the skin and smash them up with pineapple and its juice, s&p, and various spices as I mentioned; cumin, allspice/clove, maybe some paprika. I also add plain Greek yogurt for creaminess.

It's totally healthy :lol:

(but a couple nobs of butter wouldn't hurt either)

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Mom used to use the leftover ham for scalloped potatoes with ham. One of my absolute favorite food memories. I make it, but you know...not the same.

This is a post-ham tradition in my late father-in-law's Pennsylvania Dutch family as well-- he called it "yochskotl" (I'm probably spelling it wrong, but it does sound like hocking a loogie). I've made it a number of times, and to me, it tastes as good or better than what my mother-in-law made. Since it isn't a childhood memory for me, that may be the crucial difference. In memory, those dishes were always more delicious--don't forget, your palate has grown and matured as well.

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I wanted this to be a little different than a normal what your grandma makes dinner. But that is what people like with ham... The problem is I am not Grandma, nor am I even Mom, so I didn't want to make that dinner

How about going Asian? What would Hawaiians serve with ham? [not poi, though. please, not poi.]

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Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes (recipe from epicurious) were a -very easy and very tasty- big hit with some grilled pork chops recently. I think they would be nice with ham, too.

Braised baby bok choy? Asparagus instead of green beans? Or a more modern version of the traditional green beans - sauteed with some interesting spices and mushrooms, topped with crispy shallots?

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How about baked cauliflower with a middle eastern or mexican spice dusting or carrot or parsnip or rutababa puree? Roasted asparagus salad with a walnut or hazelnut dressing.

Fennel salad with lots of parsley and lemon. Parsnips and carrots prepared as people from the south prepare sweet potatoes with marshmallows? Tabbouleh?

I don't know why but I keep coming back to the idea of parsley in the taste profile.

Some kind of updated cole-slaw or sauerkraut?

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As someone from New England, ham used to require baked beans.

Nowadays, I'm all for long-braised collard greens and cornbread made with buttermilk*, though I'm with monavano on the sweet potatoes, too.

Hot, hot, hot? Coleslaw or Rick Bayless's jicama slaw and a salad made with top-quality dried beans. There are some itsy-bitsy baby kales at the farmers market right now that might be good for a salad. Actually, lots of nifty, tender greens to mix such as watercress, sorrel, etc. that could be tossed w tiny new potatoes, radishes and herbs.

*I love Peter Reinhardt's inauthentic made w polenta soaked in buttermilk overnight or real, Southern style, flat in iron skillet, no sugar.

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Sweet potatoes cut in chunks & tossed with 50/50 olive oil & melted butter, sliced shallots, salt, pepper, and a good quality sweet curry powder. Roast until browned, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with sultanas if you like raisins. Very good with ham.

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