When I was a kid, my parents would take us out to the beach at dusk with a net and some old sneakers, and we’d meet family friends to go crabbing. I can still remember the weary feeling of wading in knee-deep water, scooping the net along in front of me, hoping to catch the crab before it tried to chomp on my toes. Back at the house we’d boil the crabs and eat them simply, each picking our own, to get to that briny sweet meat. Nowadays I’m more apt to buy already picked crab meat, which can be found readily and of good quality. You’re going to love the use of crab in this crispy, creamy sweet and spiced sandwich.
Crab and Lemon Goat Cheese Panini
- 4 small ciabatta loaves
- 4 scallions chopped
- 8 ounces soft goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon berbere* spice blend or use chili powder if you cannot find this
- 8 ounces crabmeat
- 20 or so medium basil leaves
- zest of two medium lemons
- 1/3 cup pickled jalepenos drained
- In a small bowl, zest the lemons using a microplane. Add the goat cheese and salt, and mix until combined.
- Warm your panini pan, large cast iron skillet, or grill. If not using a panini pan, it will be helpful to use a large stockpot to weigh down the sandwich as it cooks.
- Split the bread lenghtwise, and smear the goat cheese evenly over the 4 loaves. Top with the crabmeat, then sprinkle the berebere spice or chili powder evenly over top. Next top with equal amounts of the crab, then sprinkle the scallions and basil evenly over each sandwich. Finally layer a few sliced, pickled jalepenos and some black pepper. Close the sandwiches.
- Lightly oil your pan and cook the paninis for about 3-4 minutes a side over medium low heat. They should have enough time to warm through without getting burned, but enough heat to create a crunchy exterior crust. If not using a panini pan, make sure to press down on them with something heavy while they cook to flatten them out. When toasted and warm, cut in half and serve.