Got Crabs?

In honor of this past Tuesday being the first day of Oregon’s crab season, I made a card for my friend Rob.
gotcrabs2For myself, I made a crab dinner. I love, love, LOVE fresh Dungeness crab. Is there anything more satisfying than cracking open a crab leg and gently tugging out a fat, gorgeous hunk of sweet flesh? (Gosh, re-reading that, I feel kind of cruel. Sorry. Click here to join the Facebook Group “Against Cruelty to Crabs;” motto: “Go pick on a prawn.” )

Just in case you’d like to celebrate the onset of crab season yourself, I thought I’d share my perfect crab dinner.


All right, so maybe there's a little more to it. But these are the basics. Crabs, and bubbly.

First, I left work. This is an excellent start to any crab dinner. On my way out of the building, despite being at a full sprint, I managed to call Newman’s Fish Company (503.227.2700), located inside City Market on NW 21st, to order two crabs. The fine people at Newman’s will crack and clean your crab for you if, like me, you’re a squeamish sort who’d prefer not to wallow around in a crustacean’s goopy bright yellow hepatopancreas, aka “crab butter,” before eating it. If you call ahead, they’ll have the crabs ready for you when you arrive. Right now, crab is $6.99/lb and the crabs are roughly a pound each, so you’ll want one per person, unless of course, you’re a hearty eater.

Fifteen minutes later I picked up my crabs, wrapped neatly in brown paper and tied in plastic. I also grabbed a head of butter lettuce, a bunch of tarragon, a small shallot, a loaf of crusty Grand Central sourdough bread, and for good measure, a pint of vanilla bean Haagen Dazs, just because. On my way out, I grabbed two Willamette Weeks, one to read and one to crack crab on. Eating crab on newspaper “plates” is strangely satisfying. And, if you put a plastic grocery bag underneath the newspaper, when you’re finished you can wrap the whole mess up and be done with it in 10 seconds.

I already had champagne at home for this occasion, but if you don’t, keep in mind that excellent wine pairings for crab include crisp whites like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, White Rhone varietals (Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne), and dry sparkling wines.

Back home, I had a full-on crab feast on the table in less than 20 minutes. That’s one of the beautiful things about this delicious winter dinner, it’s so easy.


I named this one Veuve.


And this is Clicquot.


A very easy salad of crisp butter lettuce, minced shallots and tarragon, tossed in a light vinaigrette with a sprinkling of fleur de sel and cracked pepper.


Sourdough bread and butter.


Melted butter and lemon wedges for dipping and squirting, if you're into that.


And there you have it--a fantastic crab feast. You'll never regret getting these crabs.

One more thing before I go — I could not find my crab crackers anywhere, so we had to pick up two more. I have found these bright red Zyliss Seafood Crackers to be durable and inexpensive, and I’m rather fond of the lobster on the side.