Freshness is key, so eat your crab the same day you buy it.
Makes about 8 ounces
1 whole cooked crab (1 to 2 pounds)
Place the crab on its back. Slide your thumb under the v-shaped flap and into the hole at the edge of the crab. Using both hands, separate the upper shell from the body of the crab. Scoop out any brown crab butter from top shell if desired. Discard top shell or rinse under cold water and use as decoration or serving vessel.
On the body, pull off the gills (triangular shaped and gray) and discard. Rinse crab.
Twist legs and claws off the body. Using a nutcracker or a hammer, gently crack leg segments and separate meat from shell.
Separate the left and right side of the body by snapping in half with your hands. Using your fingers or tip of one of the legs, gently push meat from the individual tube-like sections. It's necessary to crack the tubes as you go. Be careful not to leave any meat behind.
Check crabmeat for any cartilage or shells. Eat crab with a little squeeze of lemon juice or use it in a recipe.
Nutritional information per serving (3 ounces):
Calories: 93; Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 65 mg; Sodium: 321 mg; Carbohydrates: 1 g; Fiber: 0 g; Protein: 19 g
Dungeness Crab and Iceberg Salad
This recipe is a simple way to enjoy fresh crab. Soaking the iceberg lettuce makes it fresh and crisp. If you're concerned about raw eggs, replace the homemade mayonaise with store bought. For a salad with less fat, replace the French cocktail sauce (dressing) with an orange vinaigrette (link to vinaigrette recipe). Any leftover sauce can be used with shellfish, as a salad dressing or on top of avocado.
1 large head iceberg lettuce, about 2 pounds
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Cognac
2 drops or more Tabasco (optional)
1 medium Dungeness crab, about 1-1/2 pounds cracked (or 8 ounces crab meat)
Salt and pepper
Cut lettuce into bite-size pieces and plunge into a bowl of ice cold water. Let lettuce soak 20 minutes.
In a medium bowl, make a mayonnaise by whisking together egg yolk, Dijon and a pinch of salt. Very slowly, add vegetable oil in a thin steam, whisking constantly. Once half the oil has been incorporated, increase flow of oil. Whisk in lemon juice then ketchup, Cognac and Tabasco. Taste and season if needed.
Drain lettuce and spin dry in a salad spinner. Place in a large bowl, add 6 tablespoons of dressing and toss well. Reserve remaining dressing for another use.
Divide lettuce among 4 plates, top with crab and serve.
Nutritional information per serving:
Calories: 193; Fat: 11g; Cholesterol: 63mg; Sodium (not including additional seasoning): 307mg; Carbohydrates: 9g; Fiber: 9g; Protein: 14g