California’s Dungeness Crab season opened on November 15th. Crabbers headed out to drop their crab pots eagerly anticipating for a banner season. Further up the Coast, Oregon and Washington crab fishermen are waiting to make sure that the dungeness crab are ready to harvest. They also have been negotiating prices along the tri-state area to make sure they can get the maximum amount for their crab.
The San Francisco area north to Eureka opens first followed by Oregon and Washington on December 1st. Before the crab season opened state biologists tested for domoic acid to ensure the crab are safe to harvest. They also test the crab for meat fill with processors looking for at least a 23% recovery. This means that when the crab are processed, the legs and knuckles contain at least 23% meat compared to the overall weight of the crab. All reports so far are looking good for meat fill and safe levels of domoic acid!
Kodiak Fish Market is offering Whole Cook Dungeness crab.
Dungeness crab can be prepared in a wide variety of ways — involving just the meat or the whole crab. Many people like to get whole cooked Dungeness and busily crack the legs and dip the tasty meat in a little warmed butter. Already sectioned legs can be sautéed and served with a little black bean sauce, or simply served warm and cracked. Dungeness crab meat is incredibly versatile and can be made into crab cakes, added to omelettes, soups, salads, soufflés.
Whole cooks are excellent for parties and family gatherings – half the fun of eating dungies is cracking and picking the meat! This sweet, flaky meat is actually easy to pick. Most Whole Cooked crab average 1.5 – 2 lbs. The leg and knuckle sections include three legs and a claw and make a wonderful presentation for buffets or parties.
Here are some really easy instructions borrowed from Christina Gallery at Chowhound.
- Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and stir in a tablespoon of kosher salt or consider using Zatarains or Old Bay crab boil. (Be sure your pot has a tightfitting lid.) Place a steamer rack inside of the pot. (If you don’t have a steamer rack, lightly bunch a long piece of foil so that it looks like a rope. Then make a figure eight out of the foil rope and set it in the pot.) Figure steaming for 7 – 8 minutes per pound of crab.
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Using tongs, pick up the crab, grasping it from behind and placing one arm of the tongs on the belly and the other on the back with the legs on either side. Place the crab back side up in the steamer
rack Cover and return the water to a full boil, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium high and steam until the crab is cooked through, about 15 minutes more.
- Using tongs, remove the crab to a colander and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.
- Place the crab belly side up on a cutting board with the face closest to you. Using your hands or the tip of a knife, lift the triangular piece (the apron) of the shell at the tail end of the crab, break it off and discard.
- Pick up the crab with your hands, place a thumb in the hole where the apron was and pull in one motion to remove the top shell(carpace) from the rest of the body. Discard the carapace.
- Pull away the gills and any loose fragments from the body and discard Rinse away all viscera with cold water.
- Place the crab on the cutting board, back side up and cut in half from face to tail through the middle of the bod
- If desired, cut the crab into smaller pieces by slicing between the legs and knuckle or shoulder.