Get Crabby : A Bay Area Holiday Crab Feast

5 DUNGENESS CRAB RECIPES by charlotte miller

The holidays on the West Coast are more than just peppermints, parties, and presents. It also means the start of the dungeness crab season. And for those of us Bay Area natives, that means celebrating the holidays with a crab feast! This season why not do as the locals do and opt for a crab infused holiday meal. Grab a bottle of chardonnay and your crab crackers and celebrate the holidays with our five favorite crab recipes!



1. Crab Eggs Benedict on Sourdough // My Recipes


  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 6 slices of Sourdough
  • 3 cups Dungeness crab, picked over and at room temperature
  • 12 large eggs


  1. Make hollandaise sauce: In the bottom of a double boiler or in a medium saucepan, bring 1 in. of water to a simmer over high heat and adjust heat to maintain simmer. Put egg yolks, lemon juice, and mustard in top of a double boiler or in a round-bottomed medium bowl and set over simmering water. Whisk yolk mixture to blend.
  2. Whisking constantly, add butter in a slow, steady stream (it should take about 90 seconds). Cook sauce, whisking, until it reaches 140°, then adjust heat to maintain temperature (remove from simmering water if necessary). Add salt, pepper, and cayenne and continue whisking until thick, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Remove from stove and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°. Arrange sourdough slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until toasted, about 5 minutes.
  4. Put 2 muffin halves on each plate and top with crab, dividing evenly.
  5. Poach eggs: Bring 1 in. water to boil in a 12-in.-wide pan. Lower heat so that small bubbles form on the bottom of the pan and break to the surface only occasionally. Crack eggs into water 1 at a time, holding shells close to the water’s surface and letting eggs slide out gently. Poach eggs, in 2 batches to keep them from crowding, 3 to 4 minutes for soft-cooked. Lift eggs out with a slotted spoon, pat dry with a paper towel, and place 1 egg on each crab-topped muffin half.
  6. Top each egg with 2 to 3 tbsp. reserved hollandaise sauce and serve hot.



2. Deviled Crab // My Recipes


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 pound fresh lump crabmeat, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, melted and divided
  • 5 cups soft breadcrumbs, divided
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add 1 cup melted butter, 4 cups breadcrumbs, and next 3 ingredients. Spoon crabmeat mixture into 10 baking shells or individual baking dishes.
  2. Top servings evenly with remaining 1 cup breadcrumbs; drizzle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup melted butter. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Turn oven setting to broil. Broil 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.



3. Chili Dungeness Crab Dip // Sea Salt with Food


  • 350 to 380 g Dungeness Crabmeat, from 2 Large Dungeness Crabs (reserved shells)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 inch Ginger, chopped
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
  • 8 to 12 Thai Birds-eye Chilies, finely chopped
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • Peanut oil
  • Sea Salt, to taste


  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
8 Tbsp Ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp “Maggi” brand Chili Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Corn flour
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 ½ Cup Water


  1. In a large wok over high heat, add enough oil (about ½ cup) and stir fry the crab shells for about 10 minutes or until the oil is aromatic. Strain the oil and discard the shells.
  2. Add 4 Tbsp of the aromatic oil into the wok and set over medium-high heat. When hot, toss in the garlic, ginger, yellow onion and chilies. Stir and cook the mixture until fragrant and golden delicious in color.
  3. Then mix in the prepared sauce and bring it to a boil.
  4. Now add the crabmeat and give it a quick stir, and simmer gently for about 1 minute. Then add the eggs and stir until all the eggs are cook and well combined. Season with salt, if necessary and serve warm.



4. San Francisco Cioppino // A Spicy Perspective 


  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 Tb. tomato paste
  • 1 Tb. dried tarragon (2 Tb. fresh)
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 large pinch of saffron
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cups wine
  • 1- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1- 32 oz. carton of seafood stock
  • 1 ½ lbs. little neck clams or mussels
  • 1 lb. firm white fish
  • 1 lb. large raw shrimp, peeled
  • 1-2 Tb. flour
  • Lemon wedges and chopped parsley for garnishing


  1. Prepare the fennel: Cut off the stalks. You can use the fronds later in the week. (Think salads, sauces, mixed with goat cheese, sprinkled over fruit…) Then half the bulb and remove the core. Slice the bulb thin. You may want to quarter the bulb for smaller slices.
  2. Place a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tb. of oil to the pot. Sauté the fennel and onions for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and tomato paste.
  3. Sauté one more minute; then add the tarragon, thyme, saffron, red pepper, bay, salt and pepper. Mix well. Next pour in the wine, stock and tomatoes. Bring the stew to a boil. Lower the heat, COVER, and simmer for AT LEAST 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the fish into 1 inch cubes and toss the fish and shrimp in flour.
  5. Rinse and check all mollusks for freshness. They should all be completely closed. If they are open, squeeze them shut. If they don’t instantly close up again, THROW THEM OUT. Any open or cracked mollusk should NOT go in the Cioppino!
  6. Once the stew has simmered for 30+ minutes, add the mollusks. Stir and allow them to cook for 3-5 minutes until they are mostly opened. Next add the fish and shrimp. Stir well and simmer another 3-5 minutes. The broth should thicken and all the mollusks should open wide.
  7. Remove the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and any unopened mollusks. Garnish the Cioppino with parsley and lemon wedges; then serve with LOTS of warm crusty sourdough bread or Parmesan toast.



5. Crab with Harrissa & Lemon-Garlic Butter // Turnable Kitchen

{cooking & cleaning a live crab}

  1. Place live crabs in freezer for approximately 15 minutes to numb them prior to cooking. Freezing the crabs before you cook them is more humane and makes it easier to place them in the pot because they won’t be moving around as much (or trying to kill you).
  2. Find your largest stock pot and fill it with water. Salt the water, heavily, and add 3 bay leaves, a tablespoon or so of whole black peppercorns, and a teaspoon of paprika. Bring to a boil.
  3. Remove the crabs from the freezer and using a pair of tongs, grab them from behind so you don’t get pinched (see photo above). Depending on the size of your pot and your crabs, you’ll likely want to cook one at a time. Lower each crab into the boiling water with its legs facing down.
  4. While the crabs are cooking, prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with cold water and ice. Allow each crab to cook for approximately 15 minutes (once they float to the top, give them an extra 2-3 minutes). Once they are done, drop them briefly into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  5. Let the crab cool for a minute before beginning the cleaning process.
  6. To clean the crab: begin by removing the top shell. You can do this by looking for grooves where your thumbs will fit near the rear legs. Pull up on the shell.
  7. Flip the crab over and locate the long, almost triangular section of shell running partway down the center of the shell. Pull that piece up and backwards to remove it.
  8. Flip the crab again and remove the gills that run along the sides with your hands. Unless you eat the “crab butter” (the mushy yellow stuff in the cavity) wash it away with the intestines.
  9. The legs should easily twist off and, in most cases, can be cracked by hand. For harder pieces (such as the claws) use a mallet to crack them. We like to wrap them in a tea towel before cracking to cut down on the mess.
  10. Take the body and fold it back and forth like a book. It should crack in half after a few bends. Place all of the crab pieces on a large serving dish.
  11. Get a bib and plenty of napkins. Eating crab can get messy. Eat crab using your hands and have a thin, pointed utensil on hand to help you get the meat out wherever your fingers can’t reach.

{for the harissa butter}

Combine 1/2 stick of butter, 1/2 tablespoon of harissa powder, 1 thinly sliced garlic clove and the juice from 1/4 of a lemon in a small saucepan. Slowly melt the butter over medium heat, stirring to mix it with the other ingredients. Cook for a few minutes before removing from the heat (don’t let the butter brown).


{ for the lemon-garlic butter}

Combine 1/2 stick of butter, juice from 1/4 of a lemon, and 1 thinly-sliced garlic clove in a small saucepan. Follow the instructions for making harissa butter.

Serve crab with plenty of napkins, Harissa Butter, Lemon-Garlic Butter, and lemon wedges. Beer and wine are optional, but highly recommended (unless you don’t or can’t drink, in which case, a nice bottle of sparkling water will do just fine).









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