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December 30, 2016

Mr. B's New Orleans Style Dungeness Crabs

Herbaceous Buttery Goodness Awaiting a Crusty Piece of French Bread

This December, our traditional roasted Dungeness crab fest took a turn to Mr. B's southern roots as he tweaked his recipe and served up an amazing batch of deliciousness. For those not in the know, Dungeness crabs are named after Dungeness, Washington and are the most prolific and popular crabs on the West Coast. In California, Dungeness crabs season hits its peak in December and since these babies are caught off our northern coast, they're easy to find and for the amount of meat,  a relatively good bargain.

For our annual crab feast, Mr. B brought home 3 beauties. The first night, he roasted them New Orleans style in a touching tribute to his mother who not only loved picking crabs, but could rock a BBQ shrimp recipe. We stuffed ourselves senseless, literally, until the only option was to roll away from the table. The next day, we picked crabs and I made 5 huge crab cakes. We each ate one for an appetizer and then the following day, Mr. B had two topped with poached eggs. The last crab cake was ours to share over a glass of wine and a good conversation.

My advice--make this dish. Buy extra loaves of sourdough baguette to soak up the deliciously buttery and herbaceous sauce and pair with a California Chardonnay or a winter ale. Definitely roll up your sleeves and put out extra napkins.


Mr. B's New Orleans Style Dungesses Crabs

3 large live Dungeness crabs, disassembled, cleaned; innards removed and reserved, along with shells
Celery
Bay leaf
White vermouth
Garlic
Salt and pepper
Water

Butter
Fresh ground pepper--lots and lots of it
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme
Sliced Myer lemons

1. Place the crab innards and shells, along with the celery, bay leaves, vermouth, garlic, salt and pepper into a large stock pot and cover with enough water to go over them by 1 inch.
2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer until flavor is developed and water is reduced significantly.
3. Strain stock; reserve large body shells.
4. In a high sided roasting pan, place the disassembled crabs and then pour the crab stock over them.
5. Generously top with fresh rosemary and thyme.
6. Cover with thin slices of butter and then a serious dose of fresh cracked pepper. The rule of thumb is to use so much black pepper that you think you've ruined the dish, but if you're starting out, you may want to back it down slightly, especially if you intend to serve small children.
7. Slice several Myer lemons and arrange the slices over the crabs.
8. Roast in a hot oven until the crabs are cooked, the sauce bubbling and thick and hot.
9. Top with sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme and serve with hot sourdough bread.

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