Feisty, pinchy Dungeness Crab from the ocean to the kitchen in a few hours. Now that’s some delicious, sweet crustacean.
Take live, actively-thrashing-around crabs (one source: Fair Share CSF) and drop one or two over boiling water in a large steamer. 12 minutes for a pair of 1 1/3lb crabs seemed ideal .
Briefly plunge them into cold water, then clean out the guts: break off the apron, remove the carapace and most green-black guts, scrape out the rest of the guts by hand, and remove the spongy crescent-shaped gills and the mandibles. Finally, break it in half and rinse off any remaining bits of guts. Hat tip to canida for a good set of crab cleaning photos at Instructables, and the tip to use the crab toe as a pick. Why have I never thought of that?
Serve on paper for easy cleanup, with fresh parsley and melted salted butter– you don’t need any other sauce when it’s this sweet and fresh.
And for the perfect side dish, garlic noodles: I started with some special smoky/sweet heirloom garlic from the family farm, roughly crushed two large cloves, and cooked them in several Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat to infuse the oil with garlic. Then I took those cloves out and added 3 Tbsp of butter and the rest of the head of garlic (finely minced/pressed) and sauteed until the garlic was cooked. Stir in half a pound of al dente boiled spaghetti and toss it in the pan, covering the noodles with the garlic oil/butter and cooking a few more minutes. Add a bit of salt and black pepper, and you’re ready to serve. It also keeps warm well until the crab is ready.
An excellent dinner!
Even if the whole production somehow managed to last three and a half hours (including another crab test dish that was great but not really worth the laborious effort: parboiling/steaming crab for three minutes, removing the guts, picking the meat out of the shell– slow and difficult because it’s still so sticky / raw, then rubbing it with a garlic/chili/thyme/salt spice mix, laying it out in a thin layer on a baking sheet, and baking it at 500F for ten minutes to make a savory-sweet crab spread for toast).