How to Cook Fresh Dungeness Crab

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The first thing to consider when purchasing live dungeness crab is to make sure that they're alive. Cook fresh, dungeness crab with help from an experienced chef in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Gourmet Recipes
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Justin Everett. I'm executive chef of Cavollo Point Resort and Murray Circle Restaurant in Saulsalito, California. Today I'll be demonstrating how to cook live dungeness crab. The first thing to consider when purchasing live dungeness crab is to make sure that they're alive. They should be very active, you know, you don't want to turn them upside down and have them have limp arms and legs or claws. They should be very active, that's the first sign that they are healthy and alive. The first thing to do when getting ready to cook your live dungeness crab is get a pot of boiling water on. First we want to add a little white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar is fine and a little salt. That seasons your water and it also aids in the cooking process of your dungeness crab. You then want to take your crab, place it in a bowl, make sure your bowl is large enough to accommodate the crab and plenty of water. You don't want half your crab hanging out of the boiling water. What we want to do then is take our pot of rolling boiling water and pour it over the top of our crab. What we'll do then is set a timer for 14 minutes and 14 minutes for one crab should be perfect time. Alright after our timer has gone off and 14 minutes has past, we want to stop the cooking process on this crab. So we'll dump plenty of ice in on top and ideally that will stop the cooking process and cool them off nice for us. I let them sit about five minutes in the ice water just to make sure that it's completely cooled and the cooking process is finished. Now that our crab is cooked we're going to want to clean the shell, the excess shell that we don't need. What we want to do first is take this bottom shell off here and that just easily comes off, just pull that off and then what you want to do is you want to detach the top half of the crab, try to keep all those juices in there as best as possible. Now we have the inside of the crab here where you can just kind of pull away, start pulling away all the stuff that you don't want. These are the gills on the side. You definitely want to remove those, they are bitter and really can't eat those. We'll just take our scissors and just remove the gills from both sides. Then what I like to do is just take a pair of scissors and just run down the middle. You can go right down the middle and just separate the two pieces which makes it a little bit easier than to clean. Anything that's not white I usually just disengage from the shell. So now we have two halves of our crab that are pretty clean. From this point, you can use a pick and remove the crab meat from the inside. Also the claws here, there's lots of great meat inside the claws. I like to bend it back here and pull out, there's some cartilage that you would like to remove and not have inside the meat there and then usually I just take some scissors and open up those claws to expose the meat just like that. And you can continue going through each claw, removing, each claw and leg and remove the meat and that's it.


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