Friday, April 8, 2016

Roasted Dungeness Crab!

It's finally Dungeness crab season in California.  The season was originally supposed to start last November, but a toxic algae bloom along the West Coast raised fears of customers being killed or injured by domoic acid, preventing the season from opening.  Well, the commercial crab season finally opened on March 26 for the area south of the Mendocino-Sonoma County line (and remains closed above that line) and crabs are showing up in the markets.

State health officials still strongly recommend that consumers avoid eating the crab’s internal organs because they may contain much higher levels of domoic acid than the crab’s body.  Also, consumers should discard water or broth used to cook the whole crab and avoid using it to make sauces, broths, soups or stews.

But, the crab is good to go!

We go to JP Seafood to pick up crabs steamed, cracked, and cleaned, ready for the table.  But, we have some work to do ourselves to make our favorite Roasted Dungeness Crab.

The steamed crab is lined up in the display case and we ask for three to be cleaned and cracked.

Raw materials at the shop, steamed,
ready for cracking and cleaning

While the crab is prepared, we shop for the rest of our ingredients, fresh parsley and thyme, garlic, lemon, and a French baguette for dipping and savoring the sauce.

When we get home with our bag of cracked crab parts, we toast and crush fennel seeds (remembering why we're go glad for our mortar and pestle) and combine the crushed seeds in a food processor with parsley, thyme, garlic cloves, crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch of  salt and 1/3 cup of olive oil.  We purée it all, divide the crab parts between two Pyrex baking dishes and pour the mixture from the food processor over the crabs, mix well with our hands to make sure all the crabs parts are coated with the marinade, cover and store in the refrigerator for several hours.

When we're ready to eat, we warm the oven to 400 degrees, uncover the crab, scatter dots of butter over the crab and roast until warm and golden, generally 20 to 30 minutes.

Finished goods, ready for serving

While roasting, we slice the baguette - there will be lots of good sauce under the crab to soak up - and find our crab crackers (and a nutcracker or two) to crack the shells.

We put the baking dishes on the table and start grabbing the crab, cracking the shells and eating.  I eat as I go, while Laura and Jennifer build a pile of crab meat as they work through their plate, saving the eating for last.  As the crab disappears, the sauce at the bottom becomes accessible and we dunk our baguette slices in the fennel/parsley/thyme/garlic/red pepper mixture.  Wonderful!

And, at the end, nothing but shells (and great tastes) remain.

 What's left

No comments:

Post a Comment