Prepare the steamed crabs for garlic crabs. Place your hand over the backfin leg and pull away the top shell & discard it. Remove & discard the six gills, which look like spongy fingers, & then remove their entrails, using your fingers or a knife. Once clean, tear off the crab’s mouth & any sharp shells that might be protruding. Finally, break the crab in half or leave it whole (you decide). Repeat with the remaining crabs.
When all the crabs are cleaned, place the crabs in the pot along with the cabbage & white wine. You can add the optional salt, pepper, butter, & parsley.
Cover the stockpot & place it on a burner. Raise the heat to medium & cook the crabs until the cabbage & garlic is tender or, about 15 minutes.
Occasionally check the level of liquid, which should increase as the crabs release their juices (but if this does not happen, just make sure there is enough water to continue to cook the crabs). Stir the pot well halfway through so all the crabs get a chance to cook directly in the liquid. Serve immediately in a large bowl with fresh bread to sop up the juices.
Chef’s Note: I love Garlic Crabs & prefer to prepare them with already steamed crabs. You can prepare this recipe with live crabs, but removing the shell is a bit cumbersome. For a tangy, sharp flavor, use raw garlic, however if you like it mild use roasted garlic instead. This is a block party favorite: hot or cold, the crabs & juices maintain their wonderful flavor.
For the onion marmellata, place a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil & the onions. Stir to combine & cook until starting to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot & cook over low heat for 2 hours, stirring ever 30 minutes to scrape up any brown bits. The onions should be a soft, jam-like consistency & a deep mahogany color.
Meanwhile, for the pork chops, combine the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, & pepper in a small bowl. Using your fingers, work all the ingredients together until well combined. Rub the herb mixture over the pork chops. Cover with plastic wrap & reserve in the refrigerator.
About 20 minutes before the onions are finished, remove the pork chops from the refrigerator. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Grill the pork chops to medium, about 7 minutes a side depending on thickness. To serve, spoon the onion marmellata over the pork chops. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Place baguette slices in 250°F oven & bake until crisp & golden brown. Remove from oven & allow to cool.
In a sauté pan, heat the butter & olive oil & then add the onions & cook slowly over low to medium heat.
Add salt & pepper to the onions & stir occasionally while keeping the onions evenly distributed on the bottom of the pan.
Add the wine & allow the onions to continue to caramelize. Make sure that the onions do not burn or you will taste some bitterness instead of the sweetness that you are trying to achieve.
Once the onions are golden brown & the liquid has been cooked off, remove from heat & allow to cool.
Rub the fresh garlic clove on each slice of toasted bread (crostini).
On each crostini, place a heaping tsp of caramelized onions & a tsp of grated Gruyere & place on a baking sheet.
Place crostinis in 300°F oven & bake until the cheese is melted & just starting to bubble. Remove from oven.
Serve these warm & watch the reaction of your guests. Bon Apetit!!
Chef’s Note: These appetizers are addictive & delicious. You can experiment with other types of cheese but I highly recommend using Gruyere. It’s a form of Swiss cheese that is so much more complex in flavor than the traditional Swiss that you may be used to. At first it’s a little fruity & then becomes earthy & a little nutty. It goes perfectly with the caramelized onions. This takes a little bit of time to prepare but you & your guests will not regret it. The number of servings will vary.