I finally got around to making that cooking demo on how to kill and clean a live Dungeness crab. This, as some of you might recall, was something I had planned to do last year until I ran into a feisty crab who pinched my finger (making two puncture wounds) and totally threw my game off for filming. (I still ate him though, the bastard.)
Its not like I find pleasure in killing live animals (and again, PETA, please dont write me). I just believe certain food like seafood tastes best when fresh. And nothing gets fresher than killing a crab right before you cook it.
Most people who are willing to buy a live crab for the freshness will only end up dropping the whole thing into a pot of boiling water. While this works, youre basically cooking the crab with all the innards and junk inside. So I choose to clean the crab before cooking it (which is what most Chinese cooks will do) to avoid messing up my cooking water with intestines and such. Gosh, this post is really getting gory.
For those who buy their Dungeness crab pre-cooked, youre losing out on really moist succulent meat because even though some supermarkets say they got the crab that morning and cooked it, you really dont know if that crab has been sitting around since the day before. (Crab meat begins to dry out after cooking, and even more so sitting in those refrigerated counters.) So why not cook it yourself? Its actually a few simple steps (despite what youll see at one point as I struggle to remove the hard shell).
So todays demo is focused on just the killing and cleaning part of cooking with a live Dungeness crab. My crab wasnt as feisty this time because I actually bought him at the Richmond New May Wah Supermarket on Clement Street in San Francisco. So that meant more than an hour ride by Muni and BART back to my Oakland apartment. (You should have seen all the stares I got when people noticed my paper bag moving. Ha!) By the time I got home, the crab was pretty lethargic from being out of the water for so long. Still, at least it was fresh!
Come back tomorrow when we feature the good partmy demo on cooking the crab in a simple garlic wine recipe.
NOTE: Dungeness crab season in the Bay Area lasts until June, but most of the crabs are caughtand therefore more plentifulearly in the season in November. This year the season was delayed because of the massive oil spill in the Bay. Learn more about the season and crabs in the Bay Area in my previous post on crab fisherman Duncan MacLean.