Most people order pizza or Chinese food on Friday nights. This Friday night, the fiance and I enjoyed some blue crab.
This was my first time cooking crab; this does not include the time I made this recipe and this recipe using imitation crab meat that came in a bag. Well, okay, this crab came in a bag too, but it was frozen, actual, crabs. Pre-cleaned, but still, crabs. Still in the shell, looking like the sea crustaceans that they are, crabs.
After looking at my seafood cookbook, the blue crab recipes in there all seemed to revolve around incorporating the crab into another dish – blue crab butternut squash, blue crab and fettuccine, etc. I wanted to just keep it simple for my first time cooking it, and not try something crazy. Also, I had side dishes in mind (roasted red potatoes and salad). So, I ended up going with the recipe on the back of the bag it came in.
If I were to make this recipe again, I would do it a bit differently, and so I want to mention those recommendations right up front.
- Blue crabs are pretty small, considering. If you were to use this exact recipe, I would recommend substituting the blue crabs with maybe king crabs.
- The sauce that the crabs cook in is really good. I would double it and use some as a dipping sauce on the side.
- Have someone who knows what they’re doing teach you how to properly crack open the crab and extract the meat.
Here’s the thing – it’s a lot of work for little reward. I was optimistic (perhaps a bit overly so) because I did have a tool thing-y:
Thank you, Joe’s Crab Shack, who has been in my area for a little more than a year.
But, I seemed to have forgotten from my one trip there that I am terrible at getting the darn crab meat out of the crab shell.
Look at how intimidating the real crabs are:
But we shall forge on in our cooking journey.
- 1 package cleaned blue crabs
- 1/2 bulb garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lemon sliced (garnish) (I sprinkled some lemon juice instead)
- chopped parsley
First, chop up your garlic and onions. Then, add the butter, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the butter mixture around the bottom of a baking dish. (If you’re surprised you’re not supposed to cook it on the stove, so am I. Maybe something to try next time.)
Doesn’t quite look appetizing yet, but almost.
Cook the butter mixture in the oven at 450 degrees F for just a few minutes. Check frequently to avoid burning. When it’s brownish and the butter has melted and spread around some, it can come out.
Mmm starting to look bubbly and good.
Add the crabs, shells and all, to the butter mixture and coat as best as you can.
Turn the oven up to 475 degrees F. Cook the crabs for another 15 to 20 minutes, turning the crabs every 5 minutes. I cooked them for 20, and I think I could have pulled them out a couple minutes sooner.
Garnish with the lemon and parsley. Serve with a fairly large bowl for placing the shell parts in.
Good luck getting the meat out. What I could get out of it was quite good.