I wish I could agree that steamed crab was the best prep, but, uh, I'm kind of a crabby snob. I grew up on the East Coast and crab doesn't compare to unadorned lobster for me
That being said, after doing a cioppino crawl last year, IMO, the reason for the DC existance is cioppino ... the perfect use for said crab.
This also got initiated by a question on the SF board that started me thinking about other recipes. That poster wrote:
"Also interested in suggestions on what to do with them. So far I know I want to wrap some crab claws with Serrano ham for one course. And I was thinking of maybe whipping up a savory crab baklava, but not sure if the crab meat might dry out.
When I bought my crabs off the boat early this year I used some of the meat to make a crab roll like they serve at Fish in Sausalito, and the rest went into some crab cakes. Both were great, but I really want to stretch my culinary legs this go round."
Here's a link to the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commision that has some tasty-sound recipes like:
- DC devilled eggs (don't know why that sounds so good)
- Crab & potato salad
- Crab Leg Saute' in Cranberry Orange Beurre Blanc
- Crab Club Sandwich on Toasted Brioche
- Scrambled Eggs with Dungeness Crab
There's more, but those sounded the best to me.
Crab cakes general info. (all amounts approximate and subject to what looks and tastes good - and what you have in the fridge):
1 pound picked crab body meat
2 c combo fresh dried bread crumbs and panko
1 c mayo (I think more but the crab king insists 1c)
1 tb (plus) dijon mustard
1 ts hot sesame oil
handful of chopped cilantro
yellow or spring onion
diced red bellpepper
a couple shakes Worcestershire Sauce
salt and pepper
OK I know that looks rather random. But the key is putting in the things you like in amounts that do not exceed the amount of crab (the other goodies, and that do not clash with the crab or make the cake fall apart (like carrots).
Make a small cake and fry it up.
Do not add the crab until all the other stuff is mixed together so you won't muck up the lumps of meat. Do not overwork it. Sometimes we dust them with flour before frying. Sometimes we pat extra panko on top and bake them.
I make aioli to dip or a little remoulade. Sometimes I make a wasabe mayo if we are gonna indulge in some sake or have cakes as an appetizer to some Japanese food.
RWOrange - My husband is a dungy madman. He would like to share his secrets of perfect steaming, picking and freezing.
Steam live crabs over water. Seasonings make no diff. Steam upside down for approx. 20-25 minutes if they are biggies.
Picking - top off, scrape out lungs, face and rinse out guts being careful to not dislodge any meat (legs and claws still on) set them upside down to drain on a sheetpan. Do all crabs to this point. Then containerize legs and claws (for cocktail picking with your now abundant amount of friends), container for body meat. Body meat coming off with legs goes into body container. Body meat - crack in half (left/right). Each half will have segments and you can find those on the underside of the shell. Follow those outlines and split gently and the meat comes out easily. Put that into body meat container.
Wrap for freezing - Weigh it. We generally do between 8 and 12 oz. packets. 8 oz. makes for nice crab cakes. Double saran wrap squeezing all air out, heavy-duty foil (writing date and weight on foil), then all the packs into freezer ziplock.
The meat will stay perfect for a year (no lie) if stored in a chest freezer. Household fridge less.
Legs and claws have a different texture. Fine for soup, but I balk at including them in cakes. If it does not bug you, all meat can go into one pack. We enjoy just getting out on the deck, putting out mounds of legs and claws on newspaper, pop open a few beers and sit out with our friends and neighbors and act like ravenous pigs.
re: Wanda Fuca
Very cool. Thank your husband. Maybe he could share his strategy for selecting the finest crab on the General Board.
How to select the best Dungeness crab?
Would you share some of your better recipes for the frozen crab? Do you think it is better to buy and freeze crab in-season than buying a live crab out of season? Or is it just a convenience thing? You get all your crab put away at one time?
Consider him thanked. Re above question: he sez he would not freeze crab meat out of a bought crab because he does not know what happened to it between the water and getting to our house. We freeze only crab we have caught. He said he would not buy or order crab out of season.
Who knew he was so persnickety? Sounds right though.
re: Wanda Fuca
re: Robert Lauriston
Ah, "...a big dungeness crab, a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and Thou beside me in the wilderness." Yes, bring 'em home alive, get a humongous pot of water boiling (the bigger the pot, the less grief for crabbie). My friend Sharon, the Jamaican crab expert, says boil about 10 minutes (depending on the size). Then crack 'em, clean 'em, pass out crocks of melted butter (if you have tea lights to sit under them - an excellent touch)- I think it's important for each person to have their own crock with plenty of melted butter - so you don't wind up feeling like a hog.
NOTHING ELSE IS NECESSARY.
Except to mention this is the quintessential social meal. I just can't imagine eating a crab alone. Lots of laughter necessary, but that crabbie will make you feel so darn happy that if you weren't in a good mood to begin with, it will put you in a good mood.
Note to rw & RL: cute chrome claw shaped cracking pliers are available at Kamei Housewares - 547 Clement for 99 cents each. They probably also have the best price on small trivets/crocks for tea lights to keep the butter melted.
re: Robert Lauriston
re: Robert Lauriston
I was initiated into the ritual of the boiled crabs by my Jamaican friend and the crab she served me was so intensely sweet and tender I was in heaven. Could it have been better if they were steamed so that one would notice? I almost doubt it. It was that good. So, although you are probably right - maybe steam's going to be some small bit better, I'm persuaded to boil quickly in a huge amount of seething water, as opposed to steam, for compassionate reasons.