Technique: Roasting Dungeness Crab
We’re purists about our Dungeness crab. It’s such a San Francisco icon. We generally eat it cooked, chilled (if we can wait) and served with melted or browned butter.
Sometimes though, it’s so rainy and chilly out that we just don’t want to eat a cold dinner. That’s when we roast it. Start with a cooked and cleaned crab (whether you do it yourself or pay a couple dollars more a pound to get it done). You’ll want to make sure it was cooked that day, or at least the day before, if possible.
Crack each section of each leg and separate the bodies into halves. Toss the whole crabby pile in a combo of olive oil, butter and chopped garlic and roast it at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. Give it a final toss with lemon juice and parsley just before serving and you get a tasty crab dinner infused with the flavor of garlic, lemon and parsley.
It’s arguably a healthier way to eat crab because you’re going to use a little less butter in the end than if you’d dipped it. And it’s just so good. They used to serve a dish like this at Tra Vigne in St. Helena and there’s recipe in the Tra Vigne Cookbook by Michael Chiarello. The season is just getting rolling here on the West Coast and it’s a huge deal here in the Bay Area, but I’ve always suspected it’s sort of a northern California thing. Do any of you in other parts of the country eat Dungeness crab? If so, tell us how you serve it.