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Dungeness crab is easy to prepare and the meat is sweet and tender. In fact, it's nearly perfect in its original form.
BOB CHAMBERLIN/LOS ANGELES TIMES
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By Russ Parsons
Los Angeles Times
For him, here was only one way to cook Dungeness crab--until he tried it grilled at Russell Moore's Camino restaurant in Oakland. Now, he's grilling it at home.
If you ever needed a reminder of how much good there is in the world--and these days, who doesn't?--just cook a Dungeness crab. It is so easy to prepare; the meat is so sweet and tender; it is so nearly perfect just as it comes in its original wrapper. Surely, some greater power must love us mightily to give us anything that delivers such pleasure and demands so little.
Every year at the holidays, my family has a ritual dinner of crab. We sit around and eat as much of it as we possibly can and tell the stories of our year. There is nothing like sharing freshly cooked cracked crab and a great bottle of white wine with your family to remind you of just how fortunate you really are. Sometimes, we even do it more than once. That's how lucky we are.
Basic Dungeness crab couldn't be easier to prepare: Buy them at the best Asian market close to you and choose the ones that are heaviest for their size and fighting mad when they're pulled from the live tank. When you get them home, put them in a big pot, cover with water and turn on the heat. Cook them until they turn bright red; when you pull off a back leg, there should be little feathers of meat attached. Rinse them under cold water to stop the cooking and start the cooling.
To clean the cooked crabs, pull away the "spade" at the bottom of shell. Lift off the top shell, rinse out the fat and viscera and pull off the opaque gills. Pull off the legs and use the back of a heavy chef's knife to crack them--not too hard, you want the shell to remain intact; you're just making them easier to peel. Finally, cut the body in half lengthwise and divide the segments between the leg joints. Now eat.
That's the purest way to serve crab, and that's how we do it for our big dinners (well, maybe a green salad after and a lemon curd tart for dessert).
GRILLED DUNGENESS CRAB
Start to finish: 20 minutes, plus marinating time
2 cooked whole Dungeness