Twice a month we take a look at the local restaurants, farms and farmers markets featured on episodes of UNC-TV’s Flavor, NC. This week, we highlight the last episode of season one, in which hostess Lisa Prince highlights Seaview Crab Company and Port Land Grille, both in Wilmington.
Blue Crab, whose scientific name Callinectes sapidus translate to “savory beautiful swimmer,” is found all along the North Carolina coast, including in creeks and sounds. In this episode, Lisa goes crabbing with Joe Romano with Seaview Crab Company in the Masonboro Sound. Joe, his brother Sam, and friend Nathan King started crabbing commercially in 2004. Joe shows Lisa how to empty a crab pot, re-bait and sort the crabs by size.
The crabs are then sold at a retail seafood market in Wilmington, roadside stand in Fayetteville and through their mail-order business.
Lisa then visits Chef Shawn Wellersdick of Port Land Grille to cook a few recipes with fresh and local crab meat. Below is his recipe for macaroni and cheese with crab meat, peas and oven-dried tomatoes.
- 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
- 2 cups grated Asiago cheese
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons butter, plus 2 tablespoons for pan
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 pound cleaned, picked North Carolina lump crab meat
- 1 cup coarsely chopped oven-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup English peas
- 2 teaspoons Italian parsley
- 4 cups dried pasta (for 8 cups cooked) ziti, shells, rigatoni or macaroni
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 13-x9-x2-inch glass baking dish. Whisk nutmeg and cayenne pepper with flour in small bowl. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a heavy, large pot over medium high heat. Add flour mixture, stir one minute – do not allow flour to brown. Gradually whisk in milk, add bay leaves and bring to simmer. Cook until sauce thickens, about four to five minutes. Whisk in 1½ cups each of sharp cheddar, Asiago and Gruyere plus ¼ cup Parmesan or Pecorino into sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves, stir in pasta and remove from heat. Gently stir in crab meat, oven-dried tomatoes, peas and Italian parsley. Pour pasta mixture into prepared dish, sprinkle with reserved cheeses. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.