Cookin' Up D.c.: Scott Drewno's Singapore-Style Soft-Shell Crab (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Cookin' Up D.C.: Scott Drewno's Singapore-Style Soft-Shell Crab

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:08:12
But first, we wanted to know what you think about the culinary culture about these parts. So we sent our intern, Lauren Landow, out on the town to ask locals about the foods they think best represent the taste of D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #1

13:08:25
Over the weekend, me and a buddy of mine, we went to this Dominican restaurant on Georgia Avenue and had curry chicken and jerk chicken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #2

13:08:32
Ethiopian, I guess, you know, with the boom in population in the last 10 years especially, it's kind of become the unofficial food of D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE #1

13:08:39
Jumbo's Place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #3

13:08:41
The Peruvian chicken spots that kind of lit around the city is definitely, I think, a D.C. food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #4

13:08:46
Even though you got to stay with the tradition, that maybe the carryout or your wings, mambo sauce. You know, we got Ben's Chili Bowl over here. That's like a D.C. staple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #5

13:08:54
You know, sure, I mean, whatever you want, you name it, D.C. has it all.

SHEIR

13:08:59
Half-smokes, Ethiopian food, mambo sauce, for Washingtonians, these dishes all seem to capture the distinctive flavor of the D.C. region. But what about...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE #6

13:09:09
A spider roll with lightly tempuraed soft-shell crab, sha shito uzo, masago and avocado.

SHEIR

13:09:15
Or...

#6

13:09:16
Soft-shell blue crab with lo kojujonioli (sp?) .

SHEIR

13:09:19
Or even...

#6

13:09:19
Singapore style soft-shell crab with a crispy bow bun.

SHEIR

13:09:23
That's Chad Hubbard (PH), assistant general manager of the downtown D.C. restaurant, The Source, where I recently sampled this plethora of soft-shell wares, care of this award-winning fellow.

MR. SCOTT DREWNO

13:09:34
I'm Scott Drewno and I'm the chef at The Source by Wolfgang Puck.

SHEIR

13:09:37
And how long have you been here?

DREWNO

13:09:38
We're coming up on our four-year anniversary. We opened in October of 2007.

SHEIR

13:09:43
And since then, Scott's been serving up dishes featuring local ingredients like, yes, Maryland soft-shell crab.

DREWNO

13:09:49
Yes, we use, I mean, everything we can locally, I mean, as much as we can.

SHEIR

13:09:52
And bursting with some very international flavors, mostly Asian.

SHEIR

13:09:56
So it's taking something local and giving it, clearly, this very international spin, but then D.C. is a very international place.

DREWNO

13:10:03
Exactly, yes, I think, you know, the food scene in D.C., we well represent almost every cuisine. So a fun place to eat and a fun place to be.

SHEIR

13:10:10
Before digging into my soft-shell extravaganza, I have the opportunity to join Scott in The Source's kitchen..

DREWNO

13:10:16
A little crazy back here.

SHEIR

13:10:19
...where we cook up one of the entrees that will appear on my menu, the Singapore-style soft-shell crab.

DREWNO

13:10:25
These are jumbo soft-shells, really beautiful, peak of their season, perfect time to be eating them.

SHEIR

13:10:30
Scott starts by dipping the crabs in a mix of rice flour and water and plopping them into a wok.

DREWNO

13:10:36
We just have a light coating of batter. We really want to taste the crab and the sauce.

SHEIR

13:10:39
And that sauce, by the way, has a real kick to it.

DREWNO

13:10:42
We're going to use jalapeno and Fresno chilies, lots of garlic, lots of fresh ginger, so it's really aromatic. We're just going to cook that a little bit.

SHEIR

13:10:52
Let me get some of that sizzle sound here.

DREWNO

13:10:53
Sizzle, sizzle.

SHEIR

13:10:55
So while the sauce is sizzling and the crabs are Woking...

SHEIR

13:11:00
Those guys are bubbling.

DREWNO

13:11:01
Now we're cooking with gas.

SHEIR

13:11:03
Scott adds sesame oil cooked down heirloom tomatoes, some lemon grass and a whipped egg.

DREWNO

13:11:09
And that egg is going to kind of mellow out the spice a little bit and add that sort of luxurious mouth feel that we're looking for.

SHEIR

13:11:16
Then he cuts the crabs in half, puts them in a clay pot.

DREWNO

13:11:19
Now, we're going to take our sauce that we just made, the Singapore chili sauce with the egg and we're going to pour it right over the top. And right at the end, we want to add a little bit of fresh herbs to it so you get a nice, fresh herbaceous, you know, kind of bite right at the end of it.

SHEIR

13:11:31
And there you have it.

DREWNO

13:11:32
That is the Singapore chili crabs.

SHEIR

13:11:35
Wow.

DREWNO

13:11:36
Wa-la.

SHEIR

13:11:38
Now, as for how these guys taste. Okay. So I'm back in the dining room and I'm taking a bite. That's outstanding. It has a kick, very zesty, very spicy, but then D.C. is a very zesty and spicy place. And Scott Drewno agrees, though he didn't always.

DREWNO

13:11:59
I never thought of D.C. as a dining destination. I thought it was, you know, politically based and more of a -- sort of a steak and potato town and I never really considered it to be relevant in the food scene in the United States.

SHEIR

13:12:11
So then, since you've been here in the past four years, have you been proven wrong?

DREWNO

13:12:15
Yes, no, absolutely. I was -- it was a big mistake on my part to think that way. The food scene is really dynamic and continues to evolve and change and I'm just happy to be a part of it for sure.

SHEIR

13:12:24
And speaking of that dynamic change, stay tuned because later in the show, we're going to meet a local mixologist who describes the D.C. food and beverage scene as tirelessly evolving and this creative cocktail concoctor will be shaking and stirring up a drink that to him, captures a little bit of D.C. in a glass.

SHEIR

13:12:43
But in the meantime, if you have any foods or drinks you associate with D.C., we want to hear about them. Send us an email at metro@wamu.org and to see a recipe for Scott Drewno's Singapore-style soft-shell crab, visit our website, metroconnection.org.
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