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TEXAS EATS

Sabine Pass
Barbecued Crabs

Scoop the crabs out of the hot oil with a wire
skimmer. Let them cool just until they can be handled,
then serve them right away with cold beer.

Visitors to Texas seem shocked that Sartin’s
famous barbecued crabs are deep-fried and not
prepared on a Texas barbecue smoker. Like the
“barbecued shrimp” of New Orleans and the
“barbecued oysters” of Tomales Bay in Northern
California, barbecued crabs aren’t slow smoked
over a wood fire.
Cleaning the live crabs is the most difficult part
of making barbecued crabs. First you have to leave
them in ice water for several minutes to stun them
enough so they stop fighting, then you have to rip the
shell off and clean out the exposed guts and lungs.

Homemade Zestful
Seasoning
After experimenting with several home equivalent
recipes for this iconic seasoning, I came up with
my own blend. Only my version isn’t really like the
original. I omitted the cloves, because I don’t like
the aroma. And I substituted pimentón de la Vera
for the paprika, because I like the smoky flavor that
the Spanish paprika adds. I also added some tasty
but expensive spices like mace and cardamom that
you won’t find in the commercial stuff.

Makes 12 half crabs

Peanut oil, for deep-frying
6 live blue crabs
1 cup Homemade Zestful Seasoning
(recipe follows)

Makes about 1 cup

2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons smoked paprika (pimentón)
½ teaspoon ground mace
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground bay leaves
About ½ cup sugar

Pour the oil to a depth of about 2 inches into a deep,
heavy pot or deep fryer and heat to 350°F.
While the oil is heating, immerse the crabs in
ice water for 5 to 10 minutes until they are limp. Put
1 crab, shell side up, on a flat surface. Hold down a
flipper on the bottom left side of the crab with the
thumb of your nondominant hand and rip off the
upper shell from left to right with your dominant
hand. Don’t be shy. It takes considerable force to get
the shell started. Clean out the exposed guts and gills
under running cold water, remove the reproductive
parts, then break the crab in half with 1 claw on each
half. This will expose the fleshy meat in the middle.
Repeat with the remaining crabs.
Put the seasoning in a small, shallow bowl.
Working in small batches, dip the crab halves, one
at a time, into the seasoning and then lower them
into the hot oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the
crabmeat is opaque and cooked through. If the spice
mix begins to burn before the crabs are ready, lower
the heat.

In a large measuring cup, combine the salt, celery
salt, mustard, paprika, mace, cayenne, black pepper,
red pepper flakes, cardamom, and bay and mix well.
(This should measure about ½ cup.) Add an amount
of sugar equal to the total amount of spices and mix
well. Store in a tightly capped jar or other airtight
container for up to 3 months.

42

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Texas Green Chile Posole (page 132).

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TEXAS EATS

Texas Green
Chile Posole

stew begins to dry out as its simmers, add a little
more water.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt. Serve
the stew in shallow soup bowls. Pass the garnishes on
a plate at the table for diners to add to their soup.

This dish falls somewhere between the South
Texas squash casserole called calabacitas and
New Mexican green chile posole. The squash gets
cooked down to mush and becomes the thickener
for the spicy stew. See photo on page 124.

Carne Guisada
The sirloin and round steaks on a range-fed steer
may taste great, but they are usually tough. This
tomato and chile stew is simple to make and
ensures the beef will be tender.

Serves 6 to 8

4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 large white onion, chopped
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into
1-inch chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
2 cups long green chiles, roasted, peeled, and
seeded (page 129), then chopped
4 cups chopped summer squash (such as tatuma,
zucchini, or yellow crookneck)
1 (30-ounce) can pozole blanco (white hominy),
drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon salt

Serves 6 generously

8 ripe Roma tomatoes (about 1½ pounds)
2 or 3 serrano chiles
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground dried Mexican oregano
3 tablespoons lard or bacon drippings
2 pounds beef sirloin or round steak, trimmed
of all fat and gristle and cut into strips
½ inch wide and 2 inches long
1 white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Warm flour tortillas, for serving

Garnish Plate
Lime wedges
Sliced radishes
Chopped white onion
Chopped fresh cilantro

With a paring knife, nip the stem end out of each
tomato and cut the stem off of each serrano. Place the
tomatoes and chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat
and roast, turning as needed to darken evenly, for
10 minutes, until well charred.
Transfer the tomatoes and chiles to a bowl,
cover with a clean, damp dish towel, and let steam
for 10 minutes, until the skins of the tomatoes loosen
and will slip off easily. Remove the tomato skins.
(Don’t worry if all of the skin doesn’t come off.)
Place the tomatoes and chiles in a food processor
and process for about 20 seconds, until a chunky
puree forms. Add the salt, pepper, and oregano to
the puree, mix briefly, and set aside.

In a soup pot, fry the bacon over medium-high heat
until it renders some of its fat. Add the onion and
cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until just soft. Add
the pork and garlic and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, until lightly browned.
Add the water, bring to a boil, and cook for
10 minutes. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the
chiles, squash, hominy, cumin, oregano, and salt.
Stir well, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for
about 2 hours, until the pork is very tender. If the

132

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Salpicón with Chipotle Dressing (page 141).

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Old-Fashioned Tacos

Pour into a bowl. If serving immediately, stir in the
cilantro and green onions. If serving later, cover and
refrigerate for up to 1 week, then stir in the cilantro
and green onions just before serving.

In a Dutch oven, combine the beef, onion, bay leaves,
garlic, salt, peppercorns, and serranos. Pour in the
water and broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
Decrease the heat to low and simmer, covered, for
about 3 hours, until the meat is falling-apart tender. An instant-read thermometer inserted into
the thickest part of the brisket will register 190°F.
Alternatively, bring to a boil as directed, then cover
and cook in a preheated 350°F over for 3 hours. Or,
combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and
cook on the low setting for 6 to 8 hours.
Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and let
cool. Meanwhile, strain the broth through a finemesh sieve and set aside. When the brisket is cool,
trim and scrape away any fat and gristle. With your
fingers or 2 forks, tease the meat into shreds. Cut the
shreds into 1-inch-long threads and place in a bowl.
Moisten the meat with ½ cup of the broth. Save the
remaining broth for another purpose.
To make the dressing, in a blender, combine the
oil, lime juice, vinegar, and garlic and sprinkle in a
little salt and pepper. Drain the chipotles, pouring
all of the adobo sauce into the blender. Then add
the chipotles to taste: there are about 10 chipotles
in a can. For a little heat, add just 1 chipotle; for a
medium-hot dressing, add 2 or 3 chipotles; and for a
spicy dressing, add 4 or more chipotles. Turn on the
blender and process until you have a smooth dressing.
Add the dressing to the shredded beef. The mixture
should be moist but not soupy. Chop the rest of the
chipotles and put them on the table as a condiment.
Salpicón is customarily chilled, then served at
room temperature. To chill, cover and refrigerate
for at least 1 hour or up to several days. When you
remove it from the refrigerator, the top will be dry
and the dressing will have collected on the bottom of
the bowl. Just before serving, dump the mixture into
another bowl and retoss it.
To serve, arrange a bed of lettuce leaves on a
deep platter, and spoon the salpicón onto the lettuce.
Garnish with the tomatoes, radish slices, and cucumber slices and top with a sprinkling of onion. Serve
with the taco shells.

Salpicón with
Chipotle Dressing
Ground meat with some taco seasoning is the usual
taco filling. But here’s a beef filling for special occasions. Chilled salpicón looks sensational with lots of
lettuce and other salad-style condiments on a decorative platter. It’s a great recipe to make when you’re
throwing a party. See photo on page 134.
Serves 10

4 pounds trimmed beef brisket
1 large white onion, chopped
4 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon salt
10 peppercorns
2 serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
8 cups water
4 cups beef broth
Dressing
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
Lettuce leaves, for serving
Chopped tomatoes, radish slices, cucumber
slices, and chopped red onions, for garnish
20 Crispy Taco Shells (page 137) or 20 Puffy
Taco Shells (page 138)

141

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Broiled black drum
(page 11) with Pope’s
Tartar Sauce (page 7).

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Tartar Sauce and Hurricanes

Red Snapper Topped
with Mushrooms
and Crabmeat

in a 350°F oven, and finish cooking for 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until the fish is done to taste.
Put the whole fish on a platter and garnish with
the lemon slices. Carve the fish at the table. The flesh
will fall away from the bone easily along the slash
lines. Carefully remove any obvious pin bones. Serve
with the tartar sauce.

Battered and panfried snapper topped with a
buttery seafood sauce is one of the most popular
fish dishes on the Texas coast.
Serves 6

Broiled Fish

1 egg
1½ cups milk
½ cup fish flour (page 9)
6 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets
¾ cup unsalted butter
2½ cups thinly sliced mushrooms
8 ounces lump crabmeat, picked over for shell
fragments

Black drum fillets are excellent for broiling.
Swordfish, shark, tuna, and other big Gulf fish
are good for broiling too, either as fillets or as
bone-in steaks. See photo on page 2.
Serves 4

Juice of 2 limes
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup seafood seasoning (page 9)
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 pounds fish fillets or steaks
Pope’s Tartar Sauce (page 7), for serving

In a shallow bowl, beat the egg until blended. Stir in
the milk until combined. Put the flour in a separate
shallow bowl. One at a time, dip the fillets into the
milk mixture, allowing the excess to drip off, and
then dredge in the flour, coating evenly and shaking
off the excess. Set aside on a platter.
In a large cast-iron skillet, melt 6 tablespoons of
the butter over medium to medium-high heat and
heat just until it begins to brown. Add the battered
fillets and cook for about 5 minutes, until browned
on one side. Turn the fillets over, decrease the heat
to medium-low, and cook for about 5 minutes more,
until golden brown on the second side. Transfer the
fillets to a clean platter and keep warm.
Add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter to the
same skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the
mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about
3 minutes, until just tender. Add the crabmeat and
turn gently for about 3 minutes, until the crabmeat
is warm.
Divide the fillets among 6 dinner plates. Spoon
the mushrooms, crabmeat, and butter sauce evenly
over the fillets. Serve piping hot.

In a good-size shallow bowl, stir together the lime
juice, garlic, seasoning mix, and oil. Add the fish and
turn to coat evenly on both sides. Let marinate for
15 minutes.
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven,
and preheat the broiler.
Transfer the fish to a broiler pan, place under the
broiler, and broil, turning once. Plan on 5 minutes
per side for a 1-inch-thick fillet or steak and 2½ minutes per side for a ½-inch-thick fillet or steak. Serve at
once with the tartar sauce.

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Tartar Sauce and Hurricanes

Pope’s Tartar Sauce
The original “tartare” sauce was invented in France
in the mid-1800s and was served with steak tartare.
In the 1950s, elaborate French-style tartar sauces
(minus the e) were made famous in the United
States by Antoinette Pope, who hosted one of the
country’s first television cooking shows, Creative
Cookery, from 1951 to 1964. By this time the
French had stopped serving the sauce with steak
tartare, but Pope repurposed it by pairing it with
seafood.
A French woman, Blanche Wright, was the
original head cook at the King’s Inn on Loyola
Beach, though in those days it was still called
Orlando’s Café. I suspect she served a Gallic tartar sauce like the one Pope made famous in the
1950s. When Cottle Ware came along, he probably started doctoring up the French sauce with the
obligatory Texas addition of hot chiles. But I’m just
guessing. See photo on page 2.
Makes about 2 1 /2 cups

2 cups mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chopped green onions (white and
green parts)
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed green
olives
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or
as needed

In a bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir the mayonnaise until creamy. Fold in the garlic, green onions,
relish, and olives. Thin with the lemon juice as
needed. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate
for up to 2 weeks.

Galveston amusement parks
The Crystal Palace (top, center) was built in 1916. It featured a
swimming pool filled daily with 300,000 gallons of salt water.
The water was heated in the winter. The Electric Park (bottom)
was one of the first businesses in Texas to use electric lights.
Both parks were damaged by storms and demolished.

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Copyright © 2012 by Robb Walsh
Copyright page tk
Photographs copyright © 2012 by Laurie Smith
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown
Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
www.crownpublishing.com
www.tenspeed.com
Ten Speed Press and the Ten Speed Press colophon are registered
trademarks of Random House, Inc.
Portions of this work were originally published in different form in the
following: “I Love Chicken Fried Steak,” “Texas Burger Binge,” and “We Want
Beer” in the Houston Press (or on houstonpress.com), a Village Voice Media
publication. “Juneteenth Jamboree” in Gourmet magazine (June 2007).
All photographs are by Laurie Smith except those attributed to other sources as
listed on page 283.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Walsh, Robb, 1952–
Texas eats : the new lone star heritage cookbook, with more
than 200 recipes / Robb Walsh.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Cooking, American—Southwestern style. 2. Cooking—Texas. I. Title.
TX715.2.S69W363 2012
641.59764—dc23
2011035094
ISBN 978-0-7679-2150-3
eISBN 978-1-60774-113-8
Printed in China
Design by Katy Brown
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
First Edition

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