Kat discovered a neat little Forest Service campground with all the conveniences just south of New Bern (say “Newburn”) NC. New Bern is big enough without being Big. It has a Wal-Mart, a Tractor Supply (for your propane needs), several Laundromats, and two Bojangles biscuit and chicken eateries. The park is known by the locals as Flanners Beach, and that’s how you’ll find it via the Google. There is a small beach with brownish sand overlooking the vast Neuse Basin, which is actually an Atlantic coast brackish bay. The weather was cool, the biting bugs still dormant, wih the dogwoods in peak bloom, as were the redbuds. Once again we are chasing Ol’ Man Winter going up north.
New Bern lies at the mouth of the Neuse Basin harboring a sizeable fishing fleet. B & J Seafood offers a huge variety of freshly caught finny goodness, such as Atlantic oysters, clams, grouper, and yes, blue crabs. We assembled a crab boil with whole blues and rock crab claws. Rock crabs are caught off of Florida and usually survive being one’s entrée of choice. It seems the crabbers slice off one claw leaving the other intact, then they drop the one-armed crabs back into their home waters. The crabs regenerate the lost appendage, and after a few months the slow learners can be caught again. The program must be successful – rock crabs are not scarce and claws sell for $6 a pound, while whole blue crabs go for nearly $2 each. We had enough blues left after the boil to pick and produce a fine batch of Maryland crab cakes the next night. We used Jennifer Seagal’s recipe:
Fresh seafood is unbeatable!
But wait, a few tablespoons of precious backfin crabmeat remain in the dish! What to do with this treasure? Why, let’s make an omelette tomorrow morning. We’ll serve it with skillet French bread toast and orange juice, freshly squeezed from one of those Wal-Mart cans. Ah, how can it get better than this!