Most crab is available steamed and flash-frozen in grocery stores and fish markets. Occasionally they will be offered live in a tank, the way live lobsters are sold. Crab are not sold raw and cleaned the way shrimp are, for example, because the crab meat starts to spoil as soon as the crab dies. The method of seasoning the crab depends on whether you're cooking live crabs or preparing a dish with steamed crab.
If the crabs are live, cooking them in a highly spiced broth adds flavor to the meat. Even if the crabs are already cooked, reheating them in the broth adds a touch of spiciness. Add a bunch of parsley, two cut up lemons and 1 tbsp. of hot red pepper flakes to a gallon of water. You can also add two to three bay leaves, 1 tbsp of whole cloves and two chopped jalapeno or habanero peppers. Bring the broth to a boil. Drop in the live crabs and cook the crabs until done. Throw away the cooking broth. It's too highly spiced to eat.
Southwest flavors amp up the sweet taste of crab. Cilantro, with its sour piquant flavor, is a keynote of southwest cooking. Add cumin, oregano and lime juice to roughly chopped cilantro. Blend in a fresh minced jalapeno--the more jalapeno you add the spicier and hotter the crab dish will be. Toss the crab meat with the spices and serve in a warm tortilla. Another alternative is to use the flavors with additional lime juice and some olive oil. Toss the crab with cucumbers, jicama and baby lettuce leaves. Drizzle the spice mixture blended with olive oil over the crab salad.
Remoulade is a tomato-based sauce used for seafood including shrimp and crab. Form the crab meat into patties with bread crumbs, minced garlic, onions and an egg to bind the ingredients together. Saute until both sides of the patty are browned, no more than two or three minutes per side. Prepare the remoulade sauce by combining, ketchup, mayonnaise, dry mustard, parsley, minced onion, garlic and red pepper flakes together. Fold the crab meat into the remoulade if you're serving as a salad or spoon the remoulade over the browned crab cakes.
The classic combination of dill, lemon and butter is a basic of Scandinavian cooking for fish. It works well as a dipping sauce for crab. Combine the juice of one lemon with 2 tbsp. of melted butter and 1 tbsp. of dill. You could add 1 tbsp. of chopped scallions and a bit of minced garlic for even more flavor.
- Photo Credit alaskan king crab legs image by jedphoto from Fotolia.com
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