I eat at Crustacean/Thanh Long in SF a lot (probably too much to be healthy for my arteries for sure). Usually I hear the garlic noodles are the tricky part, but the crab itself doesn't seem as complicated as a lot of the recipes I see online.
The crab itself is cooked (boiled/steamed) before the roasting. I figured this out because I've had the crab at times where it's cooked thoroughly but still cold in the center when it comes out.
The sauce isn't anything too fancy either. A lot of garlic and a lot of butter. The butter is clarified i.e. they skim out the milk solids, because that would burn over high heat. I used to clarify the butter, but I don't always anymore.
The next step is to infuse the butter with garlic as it tastes garlicky, but there aren't pieces of garlic everywhere in the sauce (think PPQ and their garlic pile). For home cooking I'd just smash some garlic, infuse the butter over low-med heat then remove the garlic. Then for a double dosing of garlic goodness add some thin sliced/chopped garlic as well.
Last step for the sauce is a healthy share of cracked/coarse ground pepper. Some people say to add fish sauce, sugar, salt, bouillon powder, and various spices, but that's all just too complicated. For their sauce, I think it's either just a moderate hit of salt or more likely msg (people are afraid of msg a lot, but it's incredibly common across Asian cooking). That's it for the sauce.
From there take the crab and pour the sauce all over it. Then into the oven at high heat until it's warmed through (400 to 450F for 10 minutes should do it if it's not chilled crab).
For those wondering the butter garlic sauce at Crustacean mostly seems different to me because they use a lot of clarified butter and some msg (these two give the rich buttery savory-ness) and they infuse a lot of garlic flavor in.
I usually do 2 crabs, 1 stick of unsalted butter, a head of garlic (10+ bulbs), enough pepper to generously dot the sauce pan, and a good pinch (~1/4 to 1/3 tsp) of salt or msg. At Crustacean though, it might be almost a full stick of butter per crab judging from the happy pool I see sometimes.
Now the garlic noodles... that's a bit trickier but I'm mostly in the fish sauce, parmesan/romano cheese, and a touch of raw sugar camp.
I'm a gourmet cook and love highly flavored foods. Here's my recipe for Garlic Crabs....sooooo delicious!
Garlic Crabs….Hot and Delicious
• 1 baguette, cut in slices, then toasted
• 8 blue crabs, cleaned and cracked
• 1 whole bulb of garlic, finely chopped
• 1 small onion, chopped
• ½ stick butter, softened
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon ground pepper
• ½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
• ½ cup white wine
• ¾ cup chicken broth
• Fresh parsley and lemon wedges for garnish
1. Place garlic, onions, butter, salt, red and black pepper into a roasting pan and put into a 450 degree oven.
2. Be sure to watch carefully and cook until onions and garlic turn golden brown.
3. Remove from oven, stir in white wine and chicken broth
4. Add crabs and blend thoroughly.
5. Make sure the crab (shells and all) is coated.
6. Place pan back into oven on 475 degree for 15-20 minutes, turning crab about every 5 minutes.
7. After the crab has been heated throughout remove from oven.
8. Garlic sauce should be braised onto the shell of the crab.
9. Serve in individual bowls, sprinkled with fresh parsley and garnish with lemon wedges.
10. Pass toasted baguette slices to mop up broth.
Here's another recipe for you......
Garlic Roasted Crab
4 dungeness crabs*, cleaned and cracked
1 whole bulb of garlic, finely chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 cup butter softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
-Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
-Place garlic, onions, butter, salt, red and black pepper into a large, oven-proof pan and sautee over medium-high heat until golden brown.
-Add crab to the pan and blend thoroughly. Make sure the crab (shells and all) is coated.
-Place pan into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, turning crab about every 5 minutes.
-After the crab has been cooked throughout remove from oven. Garlic sauce should be braised onto the shell of the crab.
-Serve as soon as possible, sprinkled with parsley and garnished with lemon.
My mouth is watering just rereading it!