We are smack dab in the middle of the Dungeness crab season here on the West Coast. Which means, of course, it's crab fest time! Boil 'em, steam 'em, or roast 'em, just be sure you get your fix while they're here. A big batch of crabs requires company, of course, so here's a menu to make it a crab fest to remember.
- Double Garlic Herb Garlic Bread
- Hush Puppies
- Tri-Color Slaw with Lime Dressing
- Teeny Tiny Roasted New Potatoes
- Steamed or Boiled Crab, with plenty of melted butter and spices for dipping
- Chewy Molasses Cookies with Crunchy Lemon Icing
- Plenty of cold beer (PBR, pale ales, and IPAs are encouraged), white wine, or if you're feeling extra fancy, champagne
A crab fest is a messy hands-on affair, the type of event that is best shared with company over the course of a leisurely afternoon. Cover the table with newspaper and a few rolls of paper towels, and start the feasting with a quick tutorial on cracking open a whole crab to find the meat. Here's a step-by-step walkthrough:
Make It Happen
The day or two before the party, make the coleslaw and the cookies. You can also spread the baguette halves with the garlic butter spread the morning of the event and broil them to toasty perfection just as everyone is sitting down.
Wait to buy your crabs the morning of the event — they won't live long once out of water and you most definitely want them live! They will be fine stashed in your fridge for a few hours, and the cold temperature will also make them sluggish and easier to handle when it comes time to cook.
At crab fest time, divide and conquer. Divide the tasks between you and a few eager friends: someone to set the table, someone to deep-fry the hush puppies, someone to make sure the potatoes get roasted and the garlic bread broiled, and someone to do the actual steaming of the crabs.
Eating crabs is messy to the extreme. It's best to just embrace it with enthusiasm. Most of the other dishes at the table are fairly easy to eat with your hands, even the potatoes! I recommend plastic forks and paper bowls for the coleslaw. When everyone is maxed out on crab, bring out the cookies for an after-dinner nibble.
What else do you like to serve at your crab fests?
Have leftover crab? Here are a few recipes to make with the leftovers:
(Images: See linked posts)