I searched high.
I searched low.
Now I sigh.
"No crab roe." -- Ancient South Carolina rhyme
That's a complete fabrication, I admit it. But it doesn't change the unfortunate fact that the she-crab soup I promised will have to wait.
It turns out that crab roe is exceedingly difficult to come by. I worked the phones mightily trying to find a local market that carried the stuff, but to no avail. I even contemplated buying a whole mess of female crabs and, um, extracting my own. But that presented financial, moral, and constitutional hurdles.
And, in the end, she-crab soup isn't she-crab soup without the roe. That's what puts the "she" in it. Without the eggs, it's just bisque.
So, with crab roe off the table I needed another Lowcountry dish, preferably with an ingredient that I hadn't yet used. Enter crawfish.
Mudbugs! Tiny little freshwater crustaceans that Southerners steam, peel, and eat by the bushel. And, as with their lobster cousins, the crawfish's best attribute is its tail. The sweet morsels of meat, sauteed with tomatoes, leeks, and white wine, make an excellent accompaniment to grilled beef tenderloin.
So while I'm disappointed that the she-crab soup was put off for a little bit, it's hard to complain when crawfish and steak are the fill-in.
Photos and recipe (from Lowcountry Cooking With 82 Queen) after the jump.
2 5-oz. beef tenderloins
1 1/2 tbsp butter
2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp lemon juice
12-15 crawfish tails, steamed and peeled
1 leek, trimmed and sliced into rings
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Season beef tenderloins with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the basil and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the leeks, tomatoes, and lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the crawfish tails and cook until heated through. Set aside and keep warm.
Brush a grill pan lightly with vegetable oil and set over medium-high heat. Grill the tenderloins on all sides for 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove from heat and let sit for five minutes.
Plate the tenderloins and top with the crawfish sauce. Serve immediately.