It’s been Dungeness crab season in California for nearly eight weeks now; after countless invites to crab boil parties that I have subsequently declined because of my persistent travel schedule, I finally planned a mini crab bake with Kitty at her new apartment. Miriam was in attendance, as well as our two friends who shall be known as Mr. and Mrs. Noble. Kitty’s admittedly not much of a cook, but one thing she does well is Dungeness crab. She picked up three big guys from Osprey Seafood and had the fisherman crack the crabs for her. They weren’t cheap (three crabs for $60), but well worth the money for superior quality.
- 3-4 large dungeness crabs, cracked and halved
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup Old Bay, or fish seasoning
- 2 lemons, halved
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Evenly coat both sides of crab with olive oil and seasoning, then place stomach side up and drizzle with lemon juice, then nestle the lemon halves into the crabs. Bake for 14 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool a couple minutes before serving.
I also made some sage roasted potatoes and an arugula and radicchio salad with naval orange, cucumber and lemon-shallot vinaigrette. These were great, flavorful sides to the crab, the obvious star of the dish. Each of us girls cracked the claws and legs and pulled the crab meat out little by little, but Mr. Noble applied a different method to his crab feast by removing all the meat from the entire shell before eating hardly any of it – such restraint! I have to admit, I was pretty jealous when I had finished my crab and was staring at the heaping pile of meat on his plate, but I still enjoyed the act of slowly cracking and eating.
We paired the crab with a Rose of Syrah from Constant Diamond Mountain, and 2013 Navarro Chardonnay Table Wine, which I preferred. The Rose was a little too dry for me, while the Chardonnay – a steal at $15 (or less if you’re a member like me) – had the perfect balance of zest and butter to match the rich citrusy crab. I’m tempted to buy a case of the Navarro Chard and half a dozen crabs to match, and do it all over again this weekend! Good thing Dungeness Crab season lasts through June on the West Coast, so I have plenty of time to clear my schedule and refill my wallet.