Saturday, August 15, 2009

Crabby Cooking

 We LOVE steamed Dungeness crab, just minutes out of the salt water. Cruising in SE Alaska means we enjoy big, firm, meaty juicy crab legs that are so flavorful we no longer use melted butter or cocktail sauce on the side. Early in the season we feast greedily, easily consuming several crab apiece, even when dining on the really big boys. By August individual appetites diminish and the leftover crab present a storage issue, even though we try to harvest only enough crab for a meal or two and release the rest back into the bay.

It can be a bit daunting, sitting at the dinner table, gazing at the remains of a really good crab feed. Crab shells litter the table and spill out of bowls while the pile of uneaten legs looms in the background, still waiting to be cracked and picked. At this point in the evening all I want to do is recline somewhere comfortable and contemplate the pain of personal gluttony. But the crab won't pick itself and it's tough to find room in the refrigerator to store crab in the shell. It helps to have some company who will linger at the table, someone who cares even more than you do about picking out every last little bit of shell, or keeping the big leg meat pieces whole and not broken or shredded. Share the crab meat? Of course! Just help me get through this messy job and to my easy chair... oh drat, there's still dishes and galley cleanup to face.

Enough carrying on! Cracked and picked, the remaining cooked crab should be used in the next couple of days, or packaged and frozen for future use. Our preference remains crab fresh out of the steamer, but there are a lot of tempting recipes for cooked crab. Some favorites follow, in no particular order.

Crab Louis salad
Crab enchiladas, quesadillas or tacos
Fettucine Alfredo with crab
Crab ravioli in broth
Crab and shrimp lasagna with white sauce
Crab crepes
Crab omelette or fritatta
Crab dip/ appetizer spread
Crabby eggs, scrambled or huevos rancheros
Crabby eggs Benedict
Crab cakes and more crab cakes
Crab sushi
Crab-filled Thai summer rolls or wraps
Crab pizza with cheese and pesto
Crabby deviled eggs
Crab melt sandwich
Crab cioppino, chowder, gumbo or soup
Crab just grabbed with a fork as a snack when no one is looking.

...and by now we're a bit tired of crab, at least until we catch some more salmon,  have fish frames for crab bait and drop the crab traps to catch a few more Dungeness for just one more crab feed.

Note: at some future day there may be links to recipes for most of these dishes, or not. For now it will take e-mail or a phone call. 

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