Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Crab, The Cross and St. Francis Xavier

December 3 is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the patron of Xavier School.

Francis Xavier was born on April 7, 1506 in the castle of Javier, Navarre, Spain. He was the youngest son of an impoverished nobleman, who had died while Francis was still a child. Francis grew up with the clear determination to repair the damage to his family's fortunes. His plans envisioned dreams of earthly ambition. In the end, instead of becoming a wealthy patron to tenants and soldiers, he became the patron of missionaries. Thus God restored for all ages the family's honor by making him a legend and a saint. (Read More...)

One of the miracle stories attributed to Saint Francis Xavier is how he got his cross back after losing it at sea. It was said that Francis Xavier was caught up in a storm as he was travelling to Malacca in the year 1546. With much faith, he threw his cross into the sea, asking God to make it an intrument to pacify the turbulent sea. God indeed came to his aid. The storm halted and the sea calmed down. But he lost his cross. According to the story, Francis Xavier, upon reaching the shores of Malacca, found a crab crawling towards him holding the missing cross in on of it's claws. This story was so important that it was depicted on the altar at the canonization ceremony and was one of four miracles represented on the banner that decorated St. Peter Church on that occasion.
(It is believed that the crab that brought back the cross to St. Francis belongs to this specie. Notice how it bears the sign of the cross on its shell. )

This miracle story (some say it is a lore), came to my mind while I was preparing for my recipe this week--crabs. Live crabs are a little expensive, so i settled for cooked crab meat (Php 80.00 per 200 gms). I attempted to put a little twist to the usual crab cake recipe by incorporating it with eggplants and a simple tomato/basil salsa.

Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Crab Meat

10 pcs. medium sized eggplant
olive oil

for the crab meat stuffing:
400 g cooked crab meat (drained)
1-2 tbsp finely chopped onions
1-2 tbsp finely chopped celery
1-2 tbsp finely chopped basil
1-2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
2-3 tbsp flour
2 pcs medium sized egg
salt and pepper to taste

for the salsa:
2 pcs medium size tomatoes (diced)
2-3 tbsp. chopped basil leaves
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper


In a bowl, combine all ingredients fo the crab meat stuffing. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Carve the eggplant. Remove the flesh to make space for the crab meat stuffing. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees then adjust to low heat. Stuff the eggplant and bake for about 30 minutes. The 30 minute baking time is just my approximation. I used low heat so that cooking process is gradual both for the crab filling and for the eggplant. I didn't plan to eat roasted eggplant--just baked.

Prepare the salsa. Combine diced tomatoes and chopped basil in a bowl. Add around 5 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may put this on top of your baked eggplant or you can serve it on the side.

This picture shows that I really need to attend both food designing and food photography workshops. The picture isn't that great, but I can assure you the taste is delicious!


Passionate Eater said...

As for the need to learn more about food designing and photography, I disagree entirely. I think that your posts stand alone, I love reading about your preparation of the food and recipes! Also, the pictures are fantastic. I also find myself feeling that my pictures are sub par, but we are always learning, and improving!

Thank you for sharing about Francis Xavier. Wonderful lesson!

Also, did you save the eggplant innards for later use? Your recipe made me think of the Chinese dim sum that also uses hollowed-out eggplant.

Jhaw said...

I totally agree that we are always learning and improving. Thanks for the encouragement PE.

Yes, I saved the eggplant innards. Our house cook told me she can use them on a vegetable stew. I'm already thinking of making an eggplant pate recipe, just in case i will have another set of eggplant innards.

Jhaw said...

by the way, i got the idea of step by step food preparation from you, PE. So thank you very much. I'm learning a lot form you.

Passionate Eater said...

Feelings are mutual here J Haw! I learn a lot from you too. Yes, save up those eggplant insides, and "waste not, want not!"

relly said...

Thanks for passing by my blog... this dish looks delicious... i love its originality.

Anonymous said...

Do you know the scientific name for this crab?