Dungeness Crabs are actually a local delicacy, named after Dungeness, Washington. This budding metropolis is just a ferry ride and quick jaunt away, near Port Angeles and Sequim. Check it outsome time – cute place, has a crab festival.
My dear MIL found some Dungeness for a screamin’ deal at a local Asian grocery store and bought us two for dinner recently. At first, the sight of two crabs in the fridge after a long day at work, didn’t seem like a treat BUT we quickly got over it, prepared the crabs and dug right in. The whole process was quite easy and centered around the crab meat flavor itself, nothing too fancy. You can’t be shy with this task and get ready to make a big mess of yourself and smile through the whole thing.
Prepare the Crab
- Well, you need to kill it. Either before with a knife or by streaming. We thanked the crab, removed the “chest plate” and then sacrificed it by stabbing (nicely) it in the center of its body on the underside. You can see the knife entry would in the photo below. Before the knife incident, there was a triangle shaped plate that you just pop off with your hands. Sorry no picture. L
- Prepare the steamer. We use a vegetable steamer on the bottom of our biggest pot, but you could also bust out the big seafood stock pot. Put about a cup or two of water in the bottom and bring to a rolling boil.
- Put the crabs into the pot and put the lid on to steam. We stole a quick peak early mid-steam for a photo but you should really leave the lid on and let it cook for about 7 minutes per pound.
- All done. Nice red color now.
Start the fixins’
- Prepare the dipping sauce. We really like a simple salt: pepper: lime juice dipper but you can do clarified/melted butter, sweet chili sauce, a yogurt, aioli, really anything – get creative. We didn’t have a fresh lime but True Lime is a great kitchen hack. Here are some of my other hacks/rescues.
Set the Table
- Put down newspaper or paper bags on the table, get a big bowl for the crabs – they will leak water and crab juicy-ies, keep your kitchen compost pail close, grab a pile of napkins, set of kitchen shears and a set of chopsticks. I like to poke the meat out of with them.
Prepare the Crab for Eatin’
- The goal is to get the legs separate from the head and the innards (“crab brains” – but they are really not brains). Probably no right or wrong way, so I’ll just show you what we did. We composted the entrails but I have tasted a mean fried rice made with that stuff. Just don’t eat the lungs. In the pictures they are the leafy, triangle things. Squeashy…
- Grab the legs in one hand and the top/head shell in the other and firmly pull apart, over the bowl.
- Either crack with your hand or shears the bottom part into two pieces and wipe out remove the junky junk.
Sorry about the plastic bag in the photo, its our compost pail, not some weird crab cartilage
- I pop the legs off then snap the joints and crush with the crab cracker or shears. OR if I ate my Wheaties bare hands. Don’t forget to poke out meat with chop stick in the small parts.
Enjoy! (and thank you to my hand model – DH). If for some reason you can’t finish all your crab, finish pulling out all the meat and refrigerate it. You can make a tasty omelet, stuffing for tomatoes or mushrooms, salad for a crab roll, ravioli, crab cakes etc…..
Simple Roasted Beet and Kale Salad
For this quick side, I used an already steamed beet (Melissa’s brand), but you can roast a whole or raw one but would need to do that separate from the kale as they will need a little more time. Toss the chop beet with shredded kale, olive oil and garlic. Spread on a foil lined backing sheet and pop under the broiler until it starts to char.
Other great sites about crab at home: