Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crab Season Starts for the Single Guy

Local Dungeness crab season started last month in the San Francisco Bay Area right before Thanksgiving. But I haven’t had a chance to go out and get my first fresh crab – until this weekend. So in my eyes, the crab season didn’t really start until now.

I was in San Francisco’s Clement Street shopping district so I picked up a live crab from a seafood store in the Asian shopping area. This is supposedly a bountiful season for the Dungeness crab compared to last year’s crop. So at the tanks crabs were stacked one on top of each other and could hardly move. I felt bad for these crabs, and worried that they weren’t really lively, so that’s why I walked to another store where the crabs had more room to swim and snap at each other.

The going price on Clement Street is $3.99 a pound for a live crab, and the one I got was a little over 2 pounds, bringing my total to about $10. I carried my crab on the Muni and then the BART until I got back to my Oakland apartment. Luckily, my crab survived the trip and after a cool spell in the refrigerator, it got its snap back just as I was ready to cook it.

But when I gave my crab a scrubbing, I noticed that I got what I would call a pacifist crab. That’s because when left alone, I noticed my crab didn’t want to fight. It didn’t raise its claws at me at all. When I tapped it with a chopstick, all it did was withdraw its claws under its chin, almost like a little puppy. See in the photo how the claws were laying around and then I tapped it and it moved its claws under its chin? See what I mean? Pacifist.

Despite being a pacifist, the crab still tried to knock off the cover of my pot when I steamed it prior to using its sweet meat for my dish – garlic crab noodles.

Garlic noodles is a popular side dish to Dungeness crab in Vietnamese restaurants, just like how garlic bread is popular with crab at seafood restaurants. The famous garlic noodles were created by Thanh Long in San Francisco, but no one knows the secret family recipe.

At the restaurant, the garlic noodles are served on the side. But in my recipe, I cracked the crab and got the meat and then tossed it with the garlic noodles, basically combining everything into one dish to make it easier to eat. My noodles were really garlicky, probably because I minced the garlic when most restaurants would just infuse the butter with garlic and then cook the noodles. I went full on with the garlic bits blending with the crab.

It ended up tasting good, but not amazing like Thanh Long. Still, how can you go wrong with fresh crab and garlic noodles, combined or served on the side? Enjoy!


Hungry Dog said...

I laughed at the line about the crab claws being like a puppy's. ha! But, seriously, I like the sound of these garlic crab noodles. I haven't had the Thanh Long noodles in a long time but I still remember how insanely good they are. I probably could eat a pound of them.

Carolyn Jung said...

A pacifist crab?! LOL
Maybe the poor thing was just tuckered out from that long commute on public transit. Glad he was so tasty, though!

Kim said...

Krab Killer! Just kidding.

My book group had a feast last Sunday and my friend gave me some stock she made from the shells. Any suggestions on what to do with it?

Single Guy Ben said...

Kim, whenever I have a lot of seafood stock like shrimp stock or crab stock, that just makes me feel like making gumbo for some reason. Must be the mix of seafood and meats in those Louisiana dishes, like gumbo and jambalaya. But I bet a risotto will also be tasty with the crab stock.

Mrs. L said...

Crab season for us started right away. We've been eating the stuff as much as we can. Nice price this year too. But I admit. It comes cooked and cracked at our local place. Never had one fresh out of the tank before! Your pacifist comment had me cracking up.