How to Cook Dungeness Crab
When in the Puget Sound area in the summer, you’re going to hear lots about crabbing. I’m pretty sure that the question, “are you going crabbing?” is a local greeting that everyone uses. Just like talking about the weather, or asking, “how’s the family?” It’s just friendly a way to greet people and start a conversation.
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Since I’ve learned quite a bit about Dungeness Crab, I thought I’d share how to cook it. Thus, How to Cook Dungeness Crab
Now, if you want to catch it, here are some great guides from the state of Washington: How to Harvest (catch) crab; How to Clean Crab; and Crab Identification and Biology (which I found to be really interesting!).
I won’t go into detail on cleaning crab, but I will say that I prefer the “clean it, then cook” it method. I feel that this is a better way to enjoy it, and a more humane way to treat the crab.
Now, if you don’t want to catch Dungeness Crab, you can find them at well-stocked fish markets. So, whether you catch it or buy it, here’s my guide to How to Cook Dungeness Crab. With special thanks to Ken, Barb, and Matt for sharing their techniques, time, and letting me take pictures of the crab.
In the recipe I suggest using sea water. If this bothers you, or you don’t have access to it, use about ¼ cup of salt per gallon of fresh water.
I like the unusual ingredient in this recipe. The fennel. The fennel makes the crab meat white and a bit firmer, but doesn’t really add any noticeable flavor. Since I’m not a big fan of the flavor of fennel, I was a little worried about it the first time I ate it, but now I’m a fennel believer.
You’ll want a crab cracker and some crab forks to help get all the crab meat out of the shell. You can make lots of different dishes with the cooked crab meat. I’ve collected a bunch of different recipes I for you below the recipe card.
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- 1 fennel bulb, sliced
- raw, uncooked & cleaned crab
- sea water (or salt water)
- It’s best to do this outside, as the process can be a messy one. Place sliced fennel in large pot of sea water, and bring to a boil.
- Once the water is at a rapid boil, place cleaned crab into the boiling water. Bring the water back up to a boil, and cook crab for 22 minutes; if the pot starts to boil over turn the heat down on the burner.
- Once 22 minutes are up, remove the crab from the boiling water with a pair of tongs, and dunk the cooked crab in cold water to stop the cooking process (shock the crab in cold water).
- The crab are ready to eat, as is. You’ll want a crab cracker, and some crab forks to help get all the meat out. This is also a messy process, and again, probably best done outside. But, what’s better than fresh crab legs eaten in the company of friends while sitting outside and enjoying the wonderful summer weather! Or, you can make lots of different dishes with the cooked crab meat. Below, I have a bunch of different recipes I collected for you!
You can make lots of different dishes with the cooked crab meat:
Make cooked crab into Crab Cakes (follow this recipe substituting crab for tuna)
Seafood Chowder (follow this recipe either adding the crab along with the tuna or substituting crab for tuna)
Hot Crab Dip from Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch (which is delicious! I’ve made it multiple times!)
Crab mac & cheese from Will Cook for Smiles
Seafood gnocchi from Brown Sugar Mama (which I can’t wait to try!)
Seafood Shepherd’s Pie (just add the crab into the mixture)
Crab Rangoon from Spend with Pennies
Crab Alfredo from food.com