Crab crackin’, that is! There are lots of reasons to go out on New Year’s Eve, but even more to stay in: you can hang out as long as you like without feeling obliged to leave a big tip, playing cards and games at the table isn't frowned upon, and the champagne tends to be cheaper! Make your NYE night-in even more fun with a Dungeness crab feast fit for a king … or just you and your cat, no judgments here! Here’s what you’ll need to pull this off.
Get pre-cooked crabs. The ambitious few might feel inclined to buy live crabs then cook and clean them. But that takes a whole lot of work and the fun right out of the experience. Buy 'em already cooked! You'll thank us later. Most grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and seafood shops offer pre-cooked crabs so they shouldn't be hard to find. Heat up your pre-cooked crabs by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Simmer crabs for about 2 minutes, or until just heated through (you don’t want to overcook them!).
Get a cheap (but pretty!) tablecloth. Prepare to get messy for this delicious spread! Protect your table and your sanity during the meal by laying down a tablecloth you don't mind throwing away after the clock strikes midnight.
Have lots of napkins on hand. We recommend at least two (let's be real, more like five) per guest. Cloth napkins definitely elevate the experience, but there’s also no shame in placing a big role of paper towels on the table, either. Tuck extras in your shirt for a DIY crab bib!
Place large bowls on the table for discarded shells. Once folks get cracking, the shells pile up quickly, and bowls will help keep the action-packed table tidy.
Cut up plenty of lemons. Have them at the ready, and give each guest several wedges. Even with our recipe below, extra lemons are always nice!
Get lots of butter. There is no such thing as too much butter! Try our variation on the standard garlic butter (recipe below) to take your taste buds for a spin!
Buy a few really good loaves of bread. Sourdough is perfect for this spread, but your standard loaf of French bread is great, too. There’s nothing like fresh bread to mop up all the butter and the juicy crab!
Get some shellfish crackers and forks. Crab crackin' tools are easy to order online and using them means you and your guests get to enjoy every last piece of crabmeat. Take a tip from some of our expert crab eaters and use the pointy end of a crab leg to dig meat out of tight spaces.
White wine. We’ll let you play sommelier, but something cold, crisp, and dry like a pinot grigio is the perfect complement to the rich taste of Dungeness crab. If you want to keep things traditional, stick with a dry champagne!
New Years Cracked Crab Recipe:
If you love the sweet, rich meat of the Dungeness Crab we harvest from the cold and briny waters off of our west coast, then you are in for a surprise as this recipe is a plot twist in the way most people eat this beautiful shellfish. This recipe is so easy and PERFECT for entertaining as most of the messy cracking and incredible flavor is already provided for your guests. This recipe was inspired by our partner at Fishpeople and dear friend Tony Arnerich whose Serbian grandmother would make this for their family when he was growing up.
Buy 1/2 crab for each person to eat …yes I know that sound like alot, but when I make this recipe I end up eating twice as much as I do when I prepare crab "normally”!
• 4 Dungeness Crab
• 2 lemons- juiced and zested (organic are best as you are using the skin)
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 1/2 cups falt parsley coarse chopped (reserve 1/2 cup)
• 6 cloves of garlic- finely minced
• 12 tsp of sea salt
• 1 tsp of coarsely ground pepper
- Break off each crab, and if possible the section of the body meat its attached to. Then break the legs into two pieces and separate the body meat.
- Now comes a a secret the Cod Father learned from the coastal Japanese in Hokkaido...Using a strong pair of kitchen shears to clip along each legs shell without disturbing the meat. You should be able to continue right through the joints. (You can also use your favorite method of cracking here as well) Make sure all the pieces of the crab are ready to eat with your fingers, then place them in a large non metallic mixing bowl.
- Bring the olive oil and butter up to a medium heat in a small frying pan. Add the minced garlic and cook till lightly brown. The oil/butter is now infused with a toasty garlic flavor.
- Chop your flat parsley making sure you remove the lower stems on the cluster of leaves. Set them aside.
- Combine the oil/butter garlic, sea salt, pepper and lemon juice in the small fry pan and mix well.
- Pour over crab tossing with a large pair of spoons for 30 seconds.
- Add in flat parsley and continue to stir for 15 seconds more.
- Cover bowl and place in refer for 1 hour to marinade. We have also placed the bowl in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes for a warm version of this recipe but I STILL like the cool one better.
- In either case what happens is that the shell soaks up all the juices carrying them into the meat. Your guests will need some good paper towel like napkins but can simply eat and talk while they pull the meat out of the cracked shells and ooh and ahhh over this new way to enjoy crab.
- Serve with the reserved portion of the flat parsley garnish on top of the Pile-O-Crab
- Be sure to serve this with some crusty bread for soaking up all the delectable juices!