As a kid, I hated how and where I grew up. Like most kids, I didn’t appreciate the routines, the rituals, the storybook setting, the food, the things that now, as an adult, I “get it.” As I began preparing this recipe, I’m reminded of the afternoons of my mom sitting with bowls of steamed crabs picking the meat from the shell.
We spent our summers on an island just off the west coast, and we caught our own fish and crab. Buying crab meat from the fish market was unheard of. Our house (the only house) sat at the end of the island, and every morning, I carried the bucket while my mom walked the grass flats dipping blue crab. Even at 4 or 5 years old, carrying the bucket wasn’t so bad, but I hated it nonetheless. I hated walking in sea grass (I still do); I knew the crabs lived in the grass, and who knows what else, so walking in knee deep water, in flip flops, lugging a 5 gallon bucket of crabs was unnerving. (As a side note, wearing flip flops to walk in sea grass isn’t easy. Many flip flops lost their lives.)
Looking back on those days, I still hate walking in sea grass, but I love crab and the spicy dishes that came from our morning walks. My mom’s spicy crab pasta, which she called Crab Chilau, and the Ybor City style Deviled Crabs were my favorite. I never knew that those crab dishes were anything special. I never understood how much time she spent picking meat from the shells or the hours that she and our neighbors spent around a table hand rolling croquettes. I never realized just how spoiled I was.
As an adult, I’ve tried to create similar memories for my own children. Our house on the island was torn down many years ago, and I don’t think walking the grass flats to find my own blue crabs will EVER happen, but we spend our fair share of weekends on the island, and I hope that my kids will have as memorable meals as I did growing up.
Tonight, along with my friends from #SundaySupper, I will be LIVE! at Tapa Toro in Orlando for a Twitter Chat at 7pm. Tapa Toro combines contemporary Spanish cuisine with unique paella, a vibrant tapas menu, and an extensive selection of imported Spanish wined. Since our Twitter Chat will focus on tapas and appetizers and since we are host is one of the hottest Spanish tapas restaurants in Central Florida, I thought I’d share a Spanish tapas fusion recipe from my childhood–Deviled Crab + Emapanadas = Crab Enchilado Empanadas with Avocado Cream
Deviled Crab originated in Tampa during the Ybor City cigar workers strike in the 1920s. Traditionally made with blue crab, the seasoning uses a unique Cuban-style chilau (softito/enchilada) sauce, whose spiciness lends the “devil” to the dish’s English name. Deviled crab is meant to be eaten with one hand.
Empanadas are a stuffed pastry baked or fried in many countries in Latin Europe, Latin America, the Southwestern United States, and parts of Southeast Asia. Typically, empanadas are stuffed with meat and veggies.
5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, finely chopped
1/2 red or green pepper, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, mashed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 oz can tomato paste
1 lb. crab meat–claw meat is best–picked over and shredded
12 empanada discs
In a large skillet, saute onion, peppers, garlic, red pepper flakes in olive oil for 15 minutes over medium heat. DO NOT LET garlic burn. Add bay leaves, sugar, salt, and tomato paste. Stir, cover, and cook 15 minutes over low heat. Add crabmeat. Cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool 15 minutes.
Fill each empanada disc with approximately 2-3 TBSP crabmeat filling. Brush disc edges with beaten egg, fold in half, and crimp edges with a fork.
Heat 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a skillet to 325 degrees. Fry empanadas until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel.
2 Haas avocados
juice from two limes
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until completely pureed. Pour into a bowl and serve with empanadas.
Tapa Toro is located on International Drive in Orlando at the I-Drive 360 area which features the newest attraction, the Orlando Eye, observation wheel.
For other great tapas and small plate ideas, check out these other Sunday Supper blogs and our event host, Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking.
Para Empezar, Las Tapas (Appetizers/tapas) –
- Apple, Chorizo, and Manchego Crostini by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Champiñones al Ajillo by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Chorizo and Sweet Potato Spanish Tortilla Bites by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Citrus & Fennel Marinated Olives by Go Epicurista
- Clams Casino Dip with Bacon by Girl Abroad
- Crab Enchilado Empanadas with Avocado Cream by Gourmet Everyday
- Deviled Eggs with Shrimp by Our Good Life
- Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) by Pook’s Pantry
- Garlicky Shrimp with Pancetta Olive Oil by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Gazpacho Cucumber Bites by A Mind Full Mom
- Gildas Picantes – Spicy Anchovy Olive Skewers by Food Lust People Love
- Herbed and Spiced Almonds by Get the Good Stuff!
- How to make Beef Sweet Sour Meatballs with Pineapple for #SundaySupper by Asian In America
- Manchego Cheese & Chorizo Bites with Saffron Alioli by Hardly A Goddess
- Margarita Ceviche by The Crumby Cupcake
- Pinchos Morunos (Spanish Pork Skewers) with Mojo Picon by Curious Cuisiniere
- Roasted Bell Pepper Goat Cheese Bites by She Loves Biscotti
- Roasted Eggplant and Piquillo Pepper Toasts by Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Roasted Red Peppers and Anchovies with Bruschetta by The Hungry Goddess
- Seared Scallops with Shredded Manchego and a Bleu Cheese Crumble by The Freshman Cook
- Serrano Ham & Goat Cheese Croquettes by My World Simplified
- Serrano Ham Bites with Melon and Cheese by Palatable Pastime
- Shrimp Romesco Bites by Cooking On The Ranch
- Smoked Sardine Crostini by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Spanish Garlic Shrimp by Life Tastes Good
- Tomato Gazpacho With Fried Avocado Bites by Nik Snacks
- Tortilla de Camarones by The Healthy Fit Foodie
- Tortilla Española by Monica’s Table
- White Wine Marinated Steak with Blue Cheese by Caroline’s Cooking
- Zanahorias Aliñadas (Spanish Marinated Carrots) by Tara’s Multicultural Table
Postres (Desserts) –
- Buñuelos de Viento by Dessert Geek
- Chocolate Orange Macarons by Gluten Free Crumbley
- Chocolate Toasts with Apricot Jam by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Churro Bites with Chocolate Sauce by Angels Home Sweet Homestead
- Churro Cupcakes by Pies and Plots
- Mini Vanilla Flans by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Mini Dulce de Leche Cheesecakes by The Redhead Baker
Bebidas (Drinks) –
- Tinto de Verano ~ A Sangria alternative by An Appealing Plan
Plus Alcachofas al Ajillo – Garlicky Artichokes – and Spanish Tapas Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board