How to Cook Dungeness Crab

by katerina on February 4, 2007

dungeness crabWe have had a great time so far on Saltspring this weekend. We arrived at about midnight to a freezing cold cabin. It was so cold that everything in the fridge was frozen and the olive oil was no longer a liquid. So after hours and hours of stoking the fire – and in fact setting up a bed in front of it – we managed to make ourselves comfortable.

So far it has been nice and quiet, with no TV here it is easy to avoid the superbowl fury. Unfortunately it has rained all weekend, but it wasn’t coming down that hard and the fog is so gorgeous it really does feel as though we are in the middle of the rainforest – which granted I guess we are. Plus it makes for good reading weather, I have been slowly working my way through all of Asimov’s foundation books.

Because of our desire to hunker down and curl up by the fire we thought we should stay in last night and then maybe go out tonight. When we drove into town we saw a telltale sandwich board telling us that the crab boats were selling in the harbour and we knew what was for dinner. At $10 a crab for a 2.5 lb Dungeness we were bound to eat like kings. Maybe it is my location and the ability to eat truly fresh crab all year round (the only fishery without an open and close here anymore) but I actually prefer Dungeness to lobster.

They are interesting creatures too, the boyfriend and I were laughing over them last night and wondering what they ate. He was sure they must use their claws to catch fish and then feed it to themselves, where in I though that sounded far too cartoon to be real – however according to wikipedia it’s true. They can and do eat both clams and small fish that way. Even more interesting is their mating ritual which involves a pre-mating embrace of the male and female for several days – basically crustacean foreplay.

Cooking a crab is super easy – another of it’s nice qualities. Serve it with nice bread, melted plain or garlic butter, a crisp fresh salad and of course a nice bottle of white wine. You will want a cracker and some shrimp forks, though a nutcracker will do and we generally use fondue forks because that’s what we have. When you buy them live feel free to have them killed and cleaned. Unlike lobster there is no flavour benefit to cooking them live and it just creates a care problem. When they clean them they will break each crab in half and discard all the guts for you. As long as you cook them same day that is more than fresh enough. Depending on your audience you want anything from a 1/2 to one full crab per person. We bought two but could only eat about 3/4 of one each. My general rule is for 3 people buy 2. But of course it depends on what else you are having.

[print_this]Dungeness Crab:
1-2 dungeness crabs, killed and cleaned
4T salt

1. Salt the water and bring it to a furious boil. Add crab and boil for 10 minutes.
2. Strain out the crab and immediately plunge into an ice or cold water bath to stop the cooking(this makes it much easier to get the meat). Serve immediately with melted garlic butter or Ginger and Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce.
More Seafood Recipes:
Ginger and Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce for Crab
Mussels in White Wine
Seared Tuna with Japanese Dipping Sauce
Spicy Tomato Linguine with Mussels and Clams

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