Cooking and Serving
Cooking & Serving Tips
Oregon Dungeness crab is both versatile and easy to prepare, and can be served simple or elegant. It is at home equally on newspaper or fine china.
Place live crab in boiling salted water and cook for 18-20 minutes (after the water returns to a boil), turning the shell bright orange. Immerse in cold water to cool before cleaning. Fresh Whole-Cooks can be served chilled or heated in a steamer, broiler or oven for 4 to 5 minutes.
Clean the crab by removing the gills and viscera before serving. Serve with melted butter or dipping sauce. Frozen products should be thawed before reheating. Picked meat can be served chilled, Crab Louis or cocktail style as a delicious appetizer. As a featured ingredient in a hot entrée, Dungeness meat goes well with pasta, in casseroles and in seafood-based soups.
Oregon Dungeness crab has a sweet, delicate, stand alone flavor. Leg meat is firm and white with pinkish tones on the outside. Body meat is white and flaky.
The meat-to-shell ratio for Dungeness crab is approximately 25%, making it one of the meatier crabs available. The average yield for a 2 lb crab is 1/2 lb of picked meat.
Average portions for popular market forms are:
• Whole-Cooks – 1 per serving
• Sections – 1 to 2 per serving
• Picked Meat – 1/4 lb. (4oz) per serving
Refrigerate your whole cooked crab until ready to eat. Then follow these simple steps.
To remove the back, hold base of crab with one hand, place thumb under shell at mid-point, and pull off the shell.
The leaf-like gills are now exposed. Gently scrape them away with thumb or spoon edge.
Wash away the “crab butter” (viscera) under a heavy stream of cold water.
Many feel the Oregon Dungeness Crab is best when served warm, straight from the shell and dipped in drawn butter or seafood cocktail sauce. It also makes an excellent ingredient for a wide variety of delicious dishes.
Cracking Oregon Dungeness Crab Like a Pro!
If you’ve never cracked a crab yourself, we’ll have you performing like a pro in no time. Crack in the privacy of your own kitchen. Or, throw a crack-it-yourself crab feast and invite your guests to participate with gusto! Just follow these easy steps.
1. Twist off each leg (including the two large legs with claws) where they join the body. Break off small pincer and discard. Use your fingers and a self assured manner.
2. Break large claws in two at the dotted line, and crack with a nut cracker. Or place on a cutting board and give a light whack with a mallet or small hammer. Most purists consider this the choicest meat in the entire crab, so oohs and ahs are appropriate. You may wish to nibble as you go, dipping your crab meat in drawn butter or cocktail sauce, or squeeze on a spritz of fresh lemon juice.
3. Crack next two joints of largest legs with nutcracker or mallet, and remove juicy, succulent meat. It’s perfectly acceptable – if you’re carried away with the proper amount of adventure – to suck meat out of the shell, as if using a straw. Or if you feel timid, use a nut pick or cocktail fork to remove.
4. Repeat the cracking procedure on the top two joints of rest of legs. Don’t miss a single piece of flavorful meat.
5. Smaller joints of legs can be snapped with fingers and meat either sucked out or removed with pick or fork. Or, show a little creative flair and use the pointed joints at the tip of crab legs as picks!
6. Grasp main body of crab with two hands and firmly snap in two. Place each section on cutting board and strike with mallet to break small bones and loosen meat. Or, the more flamboyant and independent crackers may simply use their fingers to separate and remove meat. A pick or cocktail fork comes in handy, too.
Keep Us Cold and Fresh
By this point, you’ve probably been eating as fast as you’ve been cracking. But if you’re filled with will-power and are planning to store the crab for devouring later, be sure to cover meat and keep refrigerated until use. If you wish to keep longer than two or three days, pack in a moisture and vapor proof container (a glass jar is perfect). Crumple plastic wrap or lightweight foil and place in top of container to exclude all air. Cap container tightly and freeze.