It’s true, I mention it more often than I probably should. But the fact is, I love where I am from. The Puget Sound is a beautiful, low-key (albeit rainy) part of the country, and I miss a million things about it when I’m away.
A couple of weeks ago Cooper and I flew home for a long weekend, just in time to catch some anomalous perfect Seattle weather. Sunny and warm, the Sound welcomed us with ideal hunting/gathering weather. And gather we did! We had the fortune to borrow a friend’s boat for the day, and out we went, cruising around, zipping over to Seattle, and catching dinner.
After bouncing our way around the Island (I definitely lost my sea legs somewhere in Massachusetts) and dropping a few crab pots in our trusty spot (location classified) we pulled up to the beach to pick up Cooper and his dear friend Andrew, and set off towards Seattle for a fantastic meal of mostly-fried seafood and beer, on the deck of Ray’s Boathouse in Ballard. It was so fun to smell the salty air – something we get surprisingly little of in Boston – and bake in the sun all afternoon, with some of our favorite people!
After moseying back to the island and dropping Coop and Andrew at the beach (yes, they got fairly well soaked in the process), the three of us headed north to pull the crab pots and check out our catch. Dad did all the work, but if you count steering the boat and cheering him on it was a successful group effort. Though not a record breaking catch, we gathered more than enough for two meals!
Having gone a year or more without Dungeness crab, I requested that we enjoy it simply: cooked, cracked, and dipped in drawn butter. Spectacular!
If you are competitive by nature, as some people I know tend to be, cracking crab is almost like trying to beat your own high score. How many sections of leg meat can you pull out in one piece? Seasoned crab crackers like to show off their prized segments as if the accomplishment were akin to winning a trophy. I am a little out of practice, so most of my crab legs came out in fragmented chunks. No matter! All the more surface area for butter to cling to!
With the first crab meal we also had my personal favorite, lemony basil pasta, along with steamed artichokes (dipped in more butter…), and a killer salad of arugula, Yakima peaches, and Roquefort blue cheese. Ahh, it was good to be home!
The next day we drove out to the Washington coast for a night, where we feasted on more fresh seafood, cracked crab included! The standout of this meal was Dad’s clam appetizer, which we ate sitting outside, watching the sun set over the ocean(I’ve been so disoriented on the east coast!), with chilled white wine from the Columbia Valley. See for yourself!
In one short trip we managed to squeeze in just about as much Northwest-y goodness as is possible: Boating around the Puget Sound, catching Dungeness crab, and feasting on all manner of fresh seafood, not to mention beach walking, dark nights without road noise, and quality time spent with family and friends. It was a wonderful vacation.