Magazine article Sunset

Dungeness 101: If You've Never Cooked Live Crabs, It Can Seem a Little Intimidating. but Our Paper-Bag Method for Getting the Critters in the Water Helps Things Go Smoothly

Magazine article Sunset

Dungeness 101: If You've Never Cooked Live Crabs, It Can Seem a Little Intimidating. but Our Paper-Bag Method for Getting the Critters in the Water Helps Things Go Smoothly

Article excerpt

How to cook

1 Keep live crabs chilled up to 12 hours. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover crabs by 2 to 3 in., leaving 3 to 4 in. clearance below pot rim; bring to a boil.

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2 Gently unwrap crabs into a sturdy paper bag (cut off any handles first], putting in no more than 2 at a time. If crabs are loose in a box, use tongs to lift from the rear between legs and put in bag.

3 Holding bag near bottom, gently pour crabs into water (tongs don't always give a steady grip) and cover pot. Cook, lowering heat to a simmer once water bolls: 15 minutes for 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-lb. crabs, 20 minutes for bigger ones.

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4 Lift crabs out with tongs and rinse with cold running water until cool enough to handle.

How to clean and crack

1 Place cooked crab, belly up, on a work surface. Pull off and discard triangular flap and the pointy appendages underneath it, plus the smalt paddles from the front of the crab.

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2 Pull body up off broad back shell by prying off shell from the rear end. …

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