The Dungeness crab fishery is now in full swing around most areas of Puget Sound, and many are reporting good success.
In this week’s Seafood Recipe of the Week, Anthony’s Restaurant Chef Pat Donahue offers a wonderful recipe on how to prepare and wow your next guests at the dinner table. Anthony’s will contribute some of their cooking advice and recipes for the Reel Time Fishing NW blog in our Catch of the Week each Wednesday.
Other contributing experts are Chef Tom Douglas; Tiffany Haugen, Outdoor Cooking expert/author; tackle shop owners; local seafood-market owners; and fishing guides and charter services.
Here is some advice from Chef Donahue on how to prepare Dungeness crab:
The Dungeness crab is a species that inhabits eelgrass beds and water bottoms on the west coast of North America. It is a popular seafood, prized for its incredibly sweet and tender flesh.
The crab can typically be purchased either live or cooked. If you’re purchasing them live, choose the liveliest ones as opposed to the listless ones. If you’re purchasing whole cooked crabs, look for one that is heavy for its size and has its legs curled up underneath it. This is a sign that the crab was cooked alive. Crabs cooked after they die will probably have their legs hanging and they should not be purchased.
To cook live Dungeness crab, simply drop them into boiling salt water, wait for the boil to return, and then allow it to continue for 15 minutes, after which time the crab can be removed and placed into cold water to cool and then cleaned. Another method of preparing crab is called half backing, which is done by flipping the crab upside down and chopping it in half (from head to “tail”), after which the guts and gills can be scooped out. Half backed crabs boil faster and can be quickly steamed instead of boiled. Once cooked, simply serve with melted butter.
Chef Pat Donahue loves serving cooked Dungeness crab that’s been roasted in the oven with melted butter, shallots, garlic and a side of green beans or corn.
Roasted Dungneness crab
1-2 lbs, Cooked, cleaned Dungeness Crab
1 tbsp, Light olive or vegetable oil
1⁄4 cup, salted butter softened
1⁄2 tsp, chopped shallots
2 Tbsp, chopped fresh garlic
1⁄2 tsp, Kosher salt
1⁄4 tsp, black pepper
1 lemon for zest and garnish
Optional: Vegetables, Corn on the cobb, Green beans
Heat oil in small pan, stir in shallots and garlic. Cook on low- medium heat for 15 seconds or until aromatic. Stir in soft butter, 1⁄2 tsp lemon zest and lemon juice.
Heat oven to 400°, lightly crack crab legs and cut body meat into quarters . Coat cooked crab with butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 5-6 min until slightly golden.
Vegetable option: you can pre-steam green beans or corn on the Cobb pieces (steam for approx. 1 min then cool) and then roast them with the crab. Serve on platter with lemon wedges.
Yields: 1-2 servings