I miss the sea. Specifically, I miss Kare Kare, my spiritual home – scene of many defining moments in my life, happy and sad, and probably the first place I take anyone who visits me in New Zealand. I miss the sea at Koh Lanta in Thailand too – a much friendlier sea than on the tumultuous west coast of New Zealand and not nearly so majestic but languid, tepid, like bathwater left too long alone.
Oftentimes when I mention this to students of mine they chorus “what about the Lake of Constance?” and I stare back, baffled that anyone could compare the ocean with a lake. A lovely lake, a beautiful lake even, but frankly, in my mind, a glorified pond.
I love lakes, don’t get me wrong, but a lake, to me, will never even begin to measure up to the ocean in all her moods.
This doesn’t actually have an awful lot to do with crab sandwiches, but being about as far from the sea as it’s possible to be, it’s very difficult to get decent seafood here and I resorted to buying shelled crab in a plastic packet. I was pleasantly surprised; mixed with a little Kewpie and rice vinegar and stuffed between the lips of a fat walnut and rye bun with some crisp lettuce, it made a very good, nay, superlative lunch.
I felt rather smug and fashionable too – I’ve seen a few posts about po’boys about recently and this is a sort of Japanese/Austrian version of that.
Do you miss anything?
Crab Mayo Sandwiches
This is more of a suggestion than a recipe, but don’t leave out the rice vinegar, it really gives it a tangy kick. This made 3 sandwiches using weckerl, a kind of chewy rustic walnut roll they sell here in Austria. You could use ciabatta, or a loaf of walnut bread to approximate the chew on the one hand, the nutty crunch on the other but it might be hard to get both in one unless you can also get walnut weckerl where you are.
1 cup of red crab meat (as opposed to the more pinky looking stuff), well drained of any liquid
3-4 tablespoons Kewpie mayonnaise (I’m afraid it really has to be Kewpie)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
Lots of freshly ground pepper
1 sliced spring onion
3-4 leaves of iceberg lettuce, well washed and dried
Mix the crab, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper and spring onion together. Cut the rolls, lay on the lettuce and cover generously with the crab. I’m sure they’d be great with a beer.