Easy Crab Dinner
Easy Crab Dinner
Have you seen whole crab at your market fish counter lately? It's Dungeness Crab season and crab feeds are happening all over Oregon this month. We picked up some beautiful crab and had our own crab feed at home. It was fabulous! It's also crazy fast and easy. I had the crab cleaned at the fish counter. Ask someone there to do it for you, it's a free thing and getting that back off is hard for small hands like mine.
My husband and I grew up on the Oregon coast. My dad had a boat we would use for crabbing and I have no idea how many crab we ate, wow! When you can pull them right out of the bay and build a fire on the beach it's a great way to pass the day.
Several people would pile into the boat and off we went. We would drop the crab pots on the way out to what's known as the North Spit. It's a long sand bar on the outside of Coos Bay with the Pacific Ocean on the other side. Dad would beach the boat on the Spit and we would all get out and set up our day camp. We would build a large fire with driftwood and fill a large canning size pot with sea water and set it on the fire to boil.
About the time that was accomplished, 2 or 3 people would go back out in the boat to check the crab pots. They would haul up the pots and check to see which crab were of legal size and put the babies back in the bay. They set the pots back out and then returned to the Spit with the catch. That was repeated several times throughout the day and we would bring several crab home that evening.
I honestly can't remember having warmed butter out there but we probably did. What I remember was throwing the large live crabs into the boiling water and watching them turn bright red. It doesn't take long.
We pulled them out of the boiling pot and let them cool enough to handle then someone with big strong hands would take them down by the waters edge and pull the backs off, shake out the insides and pull out the gills for the seagulls. After the back is removed it's fairly easy to break the crab in half. Then it would be rinsed ever so briefly in the bay water.
Then we would eat! Standing right there on the edge of the water, throwing our shells into the bay. I'm sure someone ate from paper plates near the fire too. Maybe that's where the butter was. I guess I'll have to ask Mom.
Maybe she'll leave me a comment at the end of this blog?
This is my vintage butter melting pot that I can't live without.
This is a butter warmer. It is not necessary equipment but it sure is nice! Especially for those who feel that crab was only meant to be a wonderful means of conveyance for the warm butter.
I once made browned butter for this and my daughter, who had not yet tried browned butter, declared it delicious and proceeded to soak it all up from the butter warmer on her dinner roll in about 2 bites. So funny!
These are the tools we like to use at the table. The Lobster/Crab cracker is the usual but I like to add the nut pick. It's great for getting the meat from the tiny parts of the legs. If you don't have something like a nut pick simply use the tiny pointed end of the crab leg. That's what we used on the beach.
Now that the table is set and the butter is warming, I rinse the crab I just bought and set it into a shallow baking pan. I begin heating the oven to 375 degrees and set the crab aside while I make some rustic mashed red potatoes.
I fill a 3 quart saucepan with about 1 1/2 inches of water then clean and quarter the red potatoes. I do not peel them. As I chop them them I put them into the water so they don't oxidize and begin to turn brown.
The volume of the potatoes displaces the water so the level of the water will rise keeping your potatoes just beneath the surface. Bring the potatoes to a boil for about 12 minutes or until you can pierce them quite easily with a fork.
Click on the pictures for more close-ups and details.
The potatoes take about 30 minutes total so about the time the potatoes are getting soft I put the crab into the oven to warm. I finish up the mashed potatoes and corn while the crab warms for about 15-20 minutes in the oven.
Alternatively, you don't really need to warm it at all. The crab is ready to eat.
My hubby loves corn with mashed potatoes so I warmed up a can of sweet yellow corn with it's liquid in a glass bowl in the microwave for 4 minutes.
Oh this is so good! It really takes us both back to our days living by Coos Bay and the Oregon coast.
Did you know this is crab season because it's the time when most of the dungeness have filled out their shells with meat before molting and growing a new larger shell?
Now is the perfect time for a crab feast folks so go out get some!
Easy Crab Dinner
Ingredients (serves 2)