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I got crabs! (the joke never grows old…)

What do you do when a teammate shows up in the dressing room at hockey with 4 live crabs?  Well the proper answer on a beautiful summer’s evening would be to call up a bunch of friends and have a crab boil .  But what do you do when you have 4 crabs given to you and you have nothing planned that evening and no one to ask?  Well then you get experimental and try out some new things!

Live crabs waiting to be deliciously prepared.

I love crab and Dungeness crab is definitely on my top 10 food list.  When I’m eating out I love it prepared all ways, especially at Chinese restaurants when it’s wok fried and coated with lovely sauces.  But at home I prefer the simpler method of steaming or boiling, which given the amazing quality of the Dungeness crab we get in our waters, is so simply delicious.

But tonight, with 4 crabs, I thought I’d try a new method.  I’d talked to my teammate to ask his favourite way of preparing crab and he said he couldn’t get enough of black bean crab.  He said the easiest way to prepare it was to clean the live crab, cut into smaller pieces, fry and then use a prepared black bean sauce.  Sounded easy enough to try out.

Although I have no qualms about sticking a live crab into boiling water, prying the shell apart while they are alive took a bit of liquid courage tonight.

Liquid courage = Half a lime + half an orange + handful of muddled mint + 1 oz tequila + a splash of Cointreau + lots of ice in a mixer and shaken.

I googled “cleaning crabs” to help with the process but decided that I should just use some brute force to rip the carapace from the legs.

After the head was off, I cleaned off the gills and other bits of unnecessary shell.  I did keep the orange miso(guts) in the head though as it’s one of the most delicious parts on a crab.

I had every intention of doing a good job documenting my preparation of the crabs, but got caught up in the process of cleaning the crab and also in my decision to prepare the crab 3 different ways.  In between all the crab preparation and my crab-smelling hands, all I got were photos of the final product.

Simply boiled crab

Put a large pot of water on to boil, add a handful of salt, add live crab (head first) into the water.  Keep the heat on high until the water boils again and then turn it down to simmer.  I have no idea how long I cook the crabs for, but have a fool-proof method of knowing that it’s done when the white/green gunk starts oozing out of the crab.

Garlic & butter roasted crab

I thought I’d try roasting a crab, so I used the method above of cleaning the crab and then cutting the legs into segments.  I cracked through each segment with the knife and then put them into a roasting dish.  I scattered a few cloves of minced garlic and a couple nice sized hunks of butter on top and poured in a bit of amber beer I had, by this point, broken into.  I put the heads, (with the miso inside) on top of the legs and covered it in foil and into a 400° oven for around 20 minutes.  YUM!

Black bean crab with onions and peppers

Ok, so I’m not big on jarred sauces and I’m also not big of stir fry.  So there was something about me cutting up the onions and peppers and using a jarred black bean sauce that put me off while I was preparing the black bean crab…

But I trudged along, and coated the separated and cracked legs with corn starch.  I heated a 1/2 cup of oil in a high sided frying pan, (I could have used more oil for a better fry,but that’s all I had).  The crab went into the hot oil and was tossed around for 5 minutes, (until the shells turned bright orange on one side and from opaque to white on the other).  Remove the crab from the pan and add back to the pan the chopped onions, green and red peppers.  After 2 minutes in the hot pan, add minced garlic, ginger and jalapeno.  After a minute or so, put in a few tablespoons of jarred black bean sauce and mixed. I added the crab back into the pan and toss well to coat. WOW, this crab was some of the best I’ve ever had.

Thank you Jayson for the crab! I  owe you a dinner…

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