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Dec 12, 2011 02:08 AM

Fresh Dungeness Crab Recipe Question

I a recipe for Dungeness crab but am a bit confused. Unfortunately, I don't have a way to contact the person who originated this recipe so I'm hoping someone here can help. When I buy fresh dungeness crab it has been cooked, cleaned and cracked. The recipe calls for cleaned and cracked crab but it also calls for roasting the crab which IMHO would ruin the crab if it were previously steamed. Can you get cleaned and cracked crab that hasn't been cooked?



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  1. Here in California you can get live dungeness easily. I'm assuming if you are buying fresh dungeness they cook it right there. i'm sure you can ask them not to steam it?

    1 Reply
    1. re: darrentran87

      Yes, I'm in Northern California. And my choice seems to be buying a live crab or a steamed one that has been cleaned and cracked. The recipe calls for cleaned and cracked crab but then goes on to say the crab should be roasted in a 500 degree oven with the other ingredients. Twice cooked crab is rubbery and I'm not even sure one can buy a live crab and clean it crack it before cooking. Maybe it would be more helpful if you see the recipe, so here it is. Thanks for your help.

      Baked Garlic Crab

      4 Dungeness crabs, cleaned and cracked
      1 garlic bulb, minced
      1 small yellow onion, chopped
      1/2 lb butter, softened
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/2 tsp ground pepper
      1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
      1 bunch parsley for garnish
      1/2 fresh lemon, sliced

      Place butter, red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic and onion in a roasting pan and place into 500 degree oven. Careflly cook until the onion and garlic turn golden brown. Be careful not to burn.

      Remove pan from the oven and place cleaned/cracked crab into the pan and mix thoroughly. make sure all of the crab is coated with the sauce.

      Place roasting pan back into the oven at 500 degrees and cook for 10 minutes (8 minutes if using a convection oven). Turn crab every 4-5 minutes. Check to make sure meat is completely cooked and the sauce is braised into the shell.

    2. As I read the recipe I believe the instruction is to clean and crack the live crab Before putting it in the oven with the other ingredients. I've never done it but the procedure is relatively simple. Here's a web site that details what to do... be sure to scroll down to the Tips.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        Gio, thanks for the analysis and link. The link's tip seems to make it easy to kill the crab but I'm just not sure I'm up to it. LOL, when buying crab recently a woman in front of me in line asked "What should we name it (meaning the cooked crab she was buying) and I said, "Dinner." I know fish, poultry and beef were all alive before they reached me but I'm too squeamish to actually kill any of them. I guess I'll just go back to crab cakes, crab legs, crab pasta and crab salad, unless someone can offer a crab dish that can be roasted doesn't require me to kill it or until I can find someone who will do the 'dirty' work for me :-)

        Happy Holidays.

        1. re: ViviW

          You're welcome, ViVi. Not to belabor the issue but....

          What if - you had the crab steamed at the market. Prepped the ingredients, threw them in a wok, or large skillet, with a little olive oil and str-fried them. Added the cooked/cracked crab, mixed all together and heated the crab through, add a splash of white wine mid-way through if it looks a little dry ??

          Although not exactly the very same recipe it's an alternative method of cooking with the same ingredieants. I've done this many times with a steamed lobster. It's a very nice Asian dish using Asian herbs/oils/spices and quite delicious.

          1. re: Gio

            Gio -I had thought about making the sauce and adding in the cooked crab to it hoping the sauce would warm the crab meat up a bit but your idea sounds better, as long as I don't leave the crab in the wok too long. Thanks!

        2. re: Gio

          Wow - learn something new every day! I have never considered cracking and cleaning an uncooked crab. Though I did re-read and now understand that the meat isn't removed from the legs before cooking- I was thinking that you were to remove the meat as well.

          The recipe sounds really interesting! Might have to give it a try!

          1. re: Sushiqueen36

            Sushiqueen36 - I hope if you try the recipe you will come back and let us know how it turned out.

            I'm also thinking of asking the fish market guy to kill the crab while I'm there. Then I can bring it home, clean and crack crab and then make the recipe.

            Happy Holidays!

            1. re: ViviW

              That's a good idea - to have someone else be the hit man.

              I will definitely try it at some point. I'm not "allowed" to buy crab since we catch our own and are only an hour from the coast. Even though we might not make it out in the near future, my husband scoffs at spending money on something we can get ourselves. Sigh. I will make sure and report back when I do make the recipe though - I'll have to check the site to get the recipe anyway. Thanks! Happy Holidays to you too!

              1. re: ViviW

                Well- finally got out to catch some crabs and I remembered to try this recipe. Sort of.

                Didn't have wifi for the computer so I couldn't look up this exact recipe but I was close. I used a stick of butter, probably 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic a pinch of salt and a couple of teaspoons of red pepper flakes. 500 for about 12-15 minutes for the raw, cleaned dungeness crabs. After cooking I put them in a bowl and poured the roasting juices over. I did not crack the claws before cooking.

                We loved it! Might not cook them this way every time but the juices that collect in the roasting pan are amazing and make a great dipping sauce.

                Since we'd had a particularly successful trip, we also tried the same recipe with cooked and cleaned crab. The crab dried out a bit while cooking and it didn't produce the wonderful juices we got from the raw crab. I would definitely stick with the raw.

                Can't wait to have it again!

          2. James Beard, who grew up eating Dungeness crab, has no recipe in his Fish Cookery book on roasting it, but he does have one for roasting pre-cooked king crab legs. He cautions against over-roasting in this case.