Ah, the holidays are almost over. I hate this time of year. All the hoopla, parties, festive attitudes and joy are gone again for another year. There are only a few days left of the year and the decorations will all come down soon. The tree will be gone, the candy canes bagged, the santas and reindeer and snowmen, packed away for next time. I do love getting back to normal life, but at the same time, I love seeing my little boy’s face light up at every turn of the car. “Bright Lights!” has been our mantra when driving for the last 6 weeks, and I think by next year, it will all be different. I can only hope he won’t be obsessed with the “getting” side of the holidays. As much as a parent can try to bend their offspring in a certain direction, it takes a village.
One of this family’s traditions is to have a fancy, but somewhat healthy, dinner the day before Christmas. We like to leave some overindulgence for the following days feast, you know? So this year, we picked crab. Dungeness crab, a local inhabitant, is available year round and tastes great anytime. We don’t often treat ourselves though, as they are quite expensive. This year though, we decided we deserved it, just this once.
I’m not going to lie though. As you will see below, there are many ways to end the life of your cute little crustacean. I did not do any of them. Instead, I watched as the seafood lady at the grocery store ripped off their little shell and smashed them against a sink to get out the insides. Shudder. Though I probably could have done it myself, and spared all of us the scene in the grocery store that day, I just don’t like to kill things. So, if you can get these little beauties yourself and don’t want to do the deed, maybe ask your grocer if they can do it for you.
2 Whole Dungeness crab
1 large pot
8 cups water
1. There are many ways to end the life of your crab. You could:
a) Stab it near the eyes, in the middle with the point of a large, sharp knife. This method might be a bit tricky if this is your first time trying.
b) Do what my Mom always did, and throw them in the pot of boiling water alive. They die fairly quickly.
c) When I worked in restaurants, most chefs would break them in half. Slamming them into the divider between the large, steel sinks. Dead. Instantly.
d) Remove the carapace and rip out all the guts as fast as you can.
Whichever method you choose, these little guys are all going to end up the same way.
2. Boil the crab for 7-8 minutes per pound, remove from the water immediately and immerse into an ice bath for at least 5 minutes to stop the cooking process.
3. If they are still whole, you will now have to remove the carapace and take out the lungs and innards. If you do this under running water, it does make it a bit easier.
4. When all the insides are removed, you can crack the crabs in half and store in the refrigerator until they are needed.
5. To serve, have dipping sauce available, such as: garlic butter, cocktail sauce, hollandaise sauce, tartar sauce, etc.
1/4 – 1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 – 1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 bunch cilantro, minced
3/4 cup 1/2 fat Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Dijon
pepper, to taste
3/4 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed celery seeds
1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly except the cabbage, carrot and cilantro.
2. Allow dressing to stand for 15-20 minutes and add in vegetables.
3. Serve along side Dungeness crab.