The holiday season is fast approaching and all I can think of is, “What’s on the menu next?”, and for a very good reason.
A few weeks ago my festive meal planning got a jump start when I received a text from my little sister (alaskan dungeness crab), announcing that for the first time since Smudge and my niece Lauren were babies, she and my bro-in-law and my other niece Olivia will be joining us for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. This is the bittersweet silver lining to Santa focusing on other, younger kids with the magic alaskan dungeness crab still in their eyes.
That means this celebration will be 12 years in the making, where we will be popping the champs and serving something special.
Special, but easy. Because I for one don’t want to be spending all my time in the kitchen when I can be having fun with the family instead. Enter my plan to serve the easiest but still elegant alaskan dungeness crab as part of our holiday feast.
It used to be I was a bit intimidated by preparing Dungeness crab, a fact that seems absolutely ridiculous now that I have more than a few cracked crabs under my belt. Because honestly…this is the easiest crab you’re ever going to make.
Plan on about 1 crab per person, or if serving as an appetizer, 1 crab for every 2 people.
Because I live in a land-locked state, the Dungeness crabs I can get have already been cooked, which means the crab only needs an easy warm-up before eating rather than a full immersive steaming or cooking. Simply bring a stockpot of water to boil, turn off the heat, and immerse the crabs in the hot water to gently warm. This keeps the crab from becoming overcooked (for a second time) and tough. Let the crab sit for about 10 minutes or until it becomes fragrant, then drain.
About the Recipe
To serve the crab, you’ll need to clean the alaskan dungeness crab. The video above shows the fastest and easiest way to clean the crab and prepare it for eating.
After the crab has been cleaned, take the back of a heavy knife and crack the legs to make it easiest to pull the crab from the shell, no crackers required. We use skinny crab forks to pull the meat from the shell, but you can also go au natural and use the sharp ends of the claws to pick through the inside of the shells.
I keep it easy with the dipping sauce and serve a lemon spiked salted butter with a bit of Old Bay Seasoning stirred in. A simple mix of ketchup and hot horseradish give a lower-cal, spicy option, too.
Recipe Ideas to Serve With Your alaskan dungeness crab
Side: The Best Buttery Parsley Potatoes
Side: Easy Grilled Corn on the Cob
Side: Easy Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Dessert: Key Lime Pie
4 cooked Dungeness crabs about 2 pounds each
1 tablespoon kosher salt
16 tablespoons 1 cup or 2 sticks salted butter
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup ketchup
1-2 teaspoons prepared horseradish to your taste
Fresh dill and parsley for garnish
Sliced lemon and limes