So, what did we do for the Fourth, you might ask? Same thing we do every year, Pinky…we went over to Mom and Dad’s for the Annual Fusco Crabfest!
Each Fourth of July for the past 10 years or so, my family has thrown a no-holds-barred feast of crab pickin’. The story goes that one summer evening my mom and dad, along with their two friends Rich and Evelyn, went to a certain bar and grill in Belmar, enticed by the prospect of the advertised “all you can eat” steamed crabs. They settled in at 4PM, anticipating a long, relaxing night of crabs, beer, and good company…hours later, when they asked for yet another bucket, they were told they had eaten too many and had to leave. Humph! What to do?
Buy a bushel or two of crabs (or have some friends fish for some off their dock) and a few cases of good beer, have friends bring fresh farmer’s market corn and tomatoes (the same person brings them every year and I don’t have the heart to point out that they’re not Jersey grown, not in early July…), invite family and even more friends, and let the fun begin!
Some things vary from year to year- sometimes they’ll be clams on the half shell or a few shrimp thrown on the barbie-but you can always count on these staples:
crabs boiled up with nothing more than Old Bay Seasoning
Grandma Fusco’s famous “hot crabs” recipe: pre-cleaned and sauteed with tomato paste, garlic and cherry peppers
a simple bowl of spaghetti
corn on the cob
sliced tomatoes dressed simply with basil, garlic, olive oil (maybe a little balsamic vinegar)
crusty Italian bread to mop up the goodness
We come early, stay late, and eat all day while watching the kids run around the yard. This year, we finished everything off with fresh fruit salad (with Jersey blueberries, of course!) and Italian pastries (leave the gun, take the cannolis…).