Dungeness Crab Two Ways

Photography By Jennifer Olson | January 01, 2014


Fill a big pot 2/3 full of water, bring to a rolling boil. Add salt (and any other seasonings) and bring back to a boil. Drop in live crabs (must be fully submerged, cook 1 at a time if necessary). Boil crab 12–15 minutes, until bright orange; remove with large, clean tongs and place crab into ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Note: A large pot with a circular rack at the bottom can be substituted in place of a steamer pot.

Fill a large steamer pot 1/3 full of water (and any seasonings) and bring to a boil. Add crabs to pot and cover tightly. Keep liquid at a rolling boil, adding more liquid when necessary. Steam crabs for 20–30 minutes, until crabs are entirely bright orange. Remove cooked crabs with large, clean tongs and place into an ice bath to stop cooking process

To clean and eat: Pull off the top of the crab. Once you have pulled this off you can clean out the orangish substance and pull off the lungs (long skinny pieces that look like meat attached to the middle of the shell). Use nutcracker and picks to remove meat from the body, legs and claws. Enjoy with a squeeze of lemon or clarified butter and parsley.

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Of the Sea: Winter Seasonal Menu

Dungeness Crab Two Ways / Seaweed-Seagreens Risotto / Watercress Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette / Halibut with Meyer Lemon and Olive Salsa


  • 2 live Dungeness crabs*, 1½ to 2-pounds each, packed on ice
  • Kosher salt (¼ cup per gallon of water used)
  • Optional: Seasonings such as Old Bay, lemon, sherry, apple cider vinegar
  • *Note: Large, clean tongs are necessary for safe handling of crab, both live and cooked.
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