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Crab!

26-Jan-2005

This is crab season in the NW.  Actually it has been for some time but I’m finally getting around to talking about it.   Our crabs are available year-round but are less expensive at this time of year.  I believe it’s because the fleet can’t fish in Alaska at this time of year, so they spend more time in local waters catching crab so there’s more on the market.  All I know is that during December and January it’s plentiful and cheap!

Back to crab.  Our local variety is Dungeness, which can be found all along the coast from Alaska down through Oregon and into Central California.  I’ve read that it is considered one of the best crabs.  Of course I’m partial to it and think that on my own!  I like it because the meat is sweet and tender AND there’s a lot of meat in a crab.  You can get meat both from the legs and from the body, with the bulk of it being in the body, which is different from many other varieties of crab. 

However, I do realize that I may be prejudiced.  This is the crab I grew up with and have many great memories associated with it.  My family used to go crabbing quite a lot in the bays along the Oregon coast.  Occasionally, here in Seattle, I’m lucky enough to get a ride with someone taking their boat out to the San Juan Islands on a crabbing trip.  On those trips,  we sometimes don’t even wait to get home to cook it!  Instead, after we pull the traps we head to the closest beach and cook them immediately.  It’s amazing how much crab you can eat under those conditions! :-)

As you know there are many ways to prepare and use crab, but my favorite way is just to eat it directly from the shell dipped in a little warm butter.  And I normally don’t even eat much else along with it.  Always some bread, maybe a salad.  That’s it.  Oh, a glass of wine is good, too!  I love to enjoy the pure taste of the cold, sweet and salty meat with a light coating of warm, rich butter.  The simplest of meals but one of the most perfect.

So that’s what I did last night.  Cracked and shelled a crab, and had a bunch of it with warm butter, baguette and a little champagne. Pure happiness! I did manage, however, to save a little that will go into an omelet this morning.  Can’t wait for that!

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