Every season, I await Dungeness crabs with baited breath. While the first crabs of the year aren't necessarily the best, I savor the entire experience: choosing the seasonings for the water; laying out the newspaper; cracking and dipping and sucking all that delicious meat out of the shell. It's a primal gustatory experience, and I love, love, love it.
This past Sunday, I made my way to 99 Ranch Market where the gorgeous specimens were on offer for $2.69/lb. I stood patiently in line until it was my turn, and I ordered up two large crabs. They were cracked, cleaned, and the shells separately bagged for later stock-making.
$9.71 later (!!!!), C and I had a feast to prepare.
First, I seasoned the pot of water liberally with several bay leaves, cayenne, allspice, sea salt, pepper, marjoram, thyme and garlic powder. After bringing to a boil, the crabs went in just until done (7-10 minutes depending on size). Note: I normally would bring the crabs home live; last night it just worked out b/c I bought the crabs literally 15 minutes before bringing home to cook.
Meanwhile, I clarified a mix of 75% sweet to 25% salted butter, and cut up some lemons. C toasted some sweet white bread to sop up the goodness with, and we cracked open a bottle of Viognier.
I set the table (forks, nutcracker, butter, lemons and wine glasses on the Sports and Business sections of the Chronicle), and set the crabs onto the "serving platter" (ahem, the Real Estate section).
An hour later, we had picked every last claw clean, polished off a bottle of wine. The best part of this meal has to be clean-up. Just roll up the newspapers and chuck it all!