Here’s a delicious way to get crabby.
Executive chef Deseree Lo from Seafood market and fish bar Fresh Ideas Start Here (FISH), which has locations in Kitsilano and South Burnaby, is sharing this recipe for Dungeness crab season.
“The crabs used in this recipe were sustainably caught in Howe Sound, right off the coast of British Columbia,” Lo says. “They could be eaten in so many different ways—boiled, steamed, chilled or made into crab cakes or rolls or omelette—but my favourite way of eating these crabs is the Cajun style boil: super garlicky, buttery, and just finger-licking and lip-smacking good! Add corn, potatoes, sausages, broccoli or okra to the boil and make it a feast! Soak up the sauce with bread or rice. Eat local, support local!”
Dungeness Crab Boil
Serves: four to six people
2 whole live Dungeness Crabs (1.5 to 2 lbs each)
1 tbs salt
1 bay leaf
10 to 12 pieces whole black peppercorns
1 lb baby red or yellow potatoes
4 ears fresh corn on the cob
1 lb (8 links) regular or spicy smoked salmon sausages
1 to 2 tbs salt
1 lb butter, room temp and cubed
1 1/2 cups raw minced garlic
60 g Oh Buoy! Spice Mix (2 packets)
1 cup water or chicken stock
1 tsp sugar
1 fresh lemon
1 tbs chopped parsley (optional)
Carefully place the live crabs in a stock pot and cover with cold water. Season with salt, bay leaf and peppercorns.
Turn to medium heat and slowly bring the water to a low simmer. (I find this way of cooking live crabs to be more humane and less messy as well as keeping the meat juicy!)
Once the water is at a low simmer, set the timer for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not let the water boil as the meat can get tough.
Remove the cooked crabs from the water and set aside to cool down before separating.
Once cooled, remove the shells (not pictured but can be put into the crab boil) and the gills on both sides of the legs before cutting them in halves or quarters.
Potatoes, corn, and sausages
Note: you can cook them separately but in my case (not wanting to do dishes)—one-pot wonders.
Wash the potatoes, place in a medium pot and cover with cold water (have at least about 2 inches of water above the potatoes to cook the corn and sausages).
Bring the water to a boil over high heat and set the timer for 10 minutes.
Shuck the corns and cut into 3 to 4 even pieces per ear.
Once the potato water is boiling, add the corn, cook for 5 minutes and set aside.
Add a pinch of salt to the potato water at this point. (I do find cooking corns in salted water toughens the kernels.)
Cook the sausages in the boiling water for 2 minutes to set the shape and prevent shrinkage.
Remove the sausages, cut them on the bias and set aside.
Test the potatoes before removing from the heat—use a cake tester or toothpick to check for doneness. (There should not be much resistance and certainly not mushy!)
Drain the potatoes and set aside with the corn and sausages.
Sauce and crab boil
In a stock pot on medium heat, add the butter and whisk slowly until fully melted.
Add the minced garlic (or more if you like it really garlicky) and the Oh Buoy! spice mix and cook for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the water or chicken stock (for more flavor) and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat to low and add the corn, sausages, potatoes and crabs into the pot.
Gently fold and coat the ingredients with the sauce and to heat up the food before serving.
Remove from heat, add freshly squeezed lemon juice, place the food on a platter or in a large serving bowl and garnish with some chopped parsley.
Pour the remaining sauce into a bowl or saucer for dipping. Eat with your fingers. Don't be shy!