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How to Cook Crab

BLUE CRAB

 

lunch!

Boiled blue crab—Click picture for photo credits

Blue crab can be bought whole, live or cooked and frozen. The claws are available as cocktail claws and the meat can be found already cleaned, fresh, frozen or pasteurized. Pasteurized will give a firmer meat with slight brownish tint. . Lump meat comes from the body, flake meat from the legs and the claw meat which has a brownish tint is from the claws. Blue crab is also sold as soft-shell crab. The soft-shell can be fried, sautéed, or deep fried.

How to Boil Live Blue Crab

Place live crab into rapidly boiling water and cook for 14-16 minutes. Start timing after the water returns to a boil. Do not cook any raw crabs that have died. Crab spoils very fast if not kept alive. When done remove from the water and cool them in cold water, preferably in ice water. To clean the, pull the shell off the crab. When the top and bottom shell are off, split the crab in half with a large knife. With a spoon remove the meat from the shells. The legs and claws can be twisted off and served.

How to Bake pre-cooked Blue Crab

Round II

Baked Blue crab—Click picture for photo credits

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the crab in a large shallow pan. A sheet pan can be used. Place enough hot water in the pan to cover the bottom. Wrap the pan tight with aluminum foil.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Check to see if they are hot enough. Remember, they are already fully cooked and you are just heating them up. You do not want to overcook them, they can get tough and lose flavor. It’s better to have them a little cool than overcooked.

How to Steam Blue Crab

Place about 2 cups of water in a steaming pot. You can use a colander in a large pot if you can keep the colander and the crab above the water. Bring the water to a boil and put the crab in. cover the pot and steam for 10 minutes. When you start to smell them, check them, they are close to being done.

How to Grill Blue Crab

Take the top and bottom shell off the crab and cut the crab in half. Place it on aluminum foil on a medium hot grill. Baste with melted butter and cook until heated through. If starting with live crab, cook until the shell turns red and the meat opaque.

How to Dungeness Crab

Done crab redux

Cooked Dungeness crab—-Click picture for photo credits

Dungeness  are most often sold whole, either live or cooked, or as cooked clusters. Live, they weigh from 1 ½ to 3 ½ pounds which should yield about 4-12 ounces of cooked meat. Figure whole cooked crab should yield about 20-25 %. Generally figure 1 large crab per person.

How to Boil live Dungeness Crab

Place live crab into rapidly boiling water and cook for 14-16 minutes. Start timing after the water returns to a boil. Do not cook any raw crabs that have
died. Crab spoils very fast if not kept alive. When done remove them and cool them in cold water, preferably in ice water. To clean, pull the top shell off the crab. Flip over and remove the triangle from the bottom. With a spoon remove the gills from the sides and the intestines which run down the middle of the back. The legs can be twisted off and served.

How to Bake pre-cooked Dungeness Crab

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the crab in a large shallow pan. A sheet pan can be used. Place enough hot water in the pan to cover the bottom. Wrap the pan tight with aluminum foil.
Bake the crab for 10-12 minutes.
Check to see if they are hot enough. Remember, they are already fully cooked and you are just heating them up. You do not want to overcook them, they can get tough and lose flavor. It’s better to have them a little cool than overcooked.

How to Steam Dungeness Crab

Cooked Dungeness Crab

Cooked Dungeness Crab–Click picture for photo credits

Place about 2 cups of water in a steaming pot. You can use a colander in a large pot if you can keep the colander and the crab above the water. Bring the water to a boil and put the crab in. cover the pot and steam for 10 minutes. When you start to smell them cooking, check them, they are close to being done.

How to Grill Dungeness Crab

Take the top shell off the crab and cut the crab in half. Place them on aluminum foil on a medium hot grill. Baste with melted butter and cook until heated through.

King Crab

steamed king crab legs

steamed king crab legs—Click picture for photo credits

King crab is cooked and frozen immediately after catching so when you buy it, it is fully cooked and ready to be re-heated. It is sold according to size. There will be numbers like 6-9, 9-12, 20-30 etc. This will tell you how many legs are in 10 pounds of crab. The smaller the number, the larger the legs will be. Make sure the legs are thawed before cooking. The best way to do this is in the refrigerator overnight. In a hurry, put them in a plastic waterproof bag and put them in cold water. Change the water about every 30 minutes. My favorite way of cooking crab legs is to steam them. If you don’t have a big enough pan for steaming, baking works very well.

How to Bake King Crab

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the legs in a large shallow pan. A sheet pan can be used. Try not to stack the legs if you don’t have to. It’s better to lay them flat. Place enough hot water in the pan to cover the bottom. Wrap the pan tight with aluminum foil.
Bake the crab for 10 minutes.
Check to see if they are hot enough. Remember, they are already fully cooked and you are just heating them up. You do not want to overcook them, they can get tough and lose flavor. It’s better to have them a little cool than overcooked.

How to Boil King Crab

There are many people that use this method but I believe it takes some flavor out of the crab, so I don’t use it.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Leave room for the crab.
Add the legs and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Depending on the size of the legs, simmer for 7-10 minutes.
Remove the legs, drain them and serve.

How to Grill King Crab

Spread olive oil on the legs and put them on a medium heat grill. On a gas grill this should be about 300-325 degrees.
Grill them about 5 minutes on each side.

How to Steam King Crab

Place about 2 cups of water in a steaming pot. You can use a colander in a large pot if you can keep the colander and the crab above the water. Bring the water to a boil and put the crab in. cover the pot and steam for 10 minutes. When you start to smell them cooking, check them, they are close to being done.

SNOW CRAB

Dinner in Seward

Snow Crab—-Click picture for photo credits

It is rare to buy snow crab raw. It is normally cooked and frozen right after harvesting, so when you buy it, it is fully cooked and ready to be re-heated. Snow crab can be sold in a few different ways.  Clusters are either the right or left side of the crab. They have 4 legs and a claw arm with a piece of the body attached. The legs and claws have the best meat. Crab claws, called cocktail claws, and crab legs, called snap and eat are also available. Snow crab can be boiled; baked, grilled or steamed but baking and steaming are the best for retaining flavor.

HOW TO BAKE SNOW CRAB

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the legs in a large shallow pan. A sheet pan can be used. Try not to stack the legs if you don’t have to. It’s better to lay them flat. Place enough hot water in the pan to cover the bottom. Wrap the pan tight with aluminum foil.
Bake the crab for 10 minutes.
Check to see if they are hot enough. Remember, they are already fully cooked and you are just heating them up. You do not want to overcook them, they can get tough and lose flavor. It’s better to have them a little cool than overcooked.

HOW TO BOIL SNOW CRAB

There are many people that use this method but I believe it takes some flavor out of the crab, so I don’t use it.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Leave room for the crab.
Add the crab and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Depending on the size, simmer for 5-8 minutes.
Remove the legs, drain them and serve.

HOW TO GRILL SNOW CRAB

Have the grill at medium heat.
Wrap the crab in aluminum and place on the grill about 5-6 inches from the heat.
Cook for 10-15 minutes.

HOW TO STEAM SNOW CRAB

Place about 2 cups of water in a steaming pot. You can use a colander in a large pot if you can keep the colander and the crab above the water. Bring the water to a boil and put the crab in. cover the pot and steam for 10 minutes. When you start to smell the crab cooking it should be done.

SOFTSHELL CRAB

Soft-Shell Crab Sandwich at the Lobster House

Soft-Shell Crab—–Click picture for photo credits

Blue crabs are the only crab commercially sold as soft-shell crab. This is the time between the shedding of their old shell and the hardening of their new one.
Soft-shell crab are sold in 5 basic sizes; whales, jumbos, primes, hotels and mediums. Mediums are 1-2 ounces, hotels are 2-3 ounces, primes are 3-4 ounces, jumbos are 4-5 ounces and whales are over 5 ounces. They can be sold live, or frozen. If the crab is fresh and not alive smell it. If stored properly it can last for a couple days. Stay away from soft-shell that have any smell other than the sea, especially if they smell like ammonia.
To clean the crab, use a kitchen a scissors. Put the crab in the freezer for a couple minutes. Cut the face off the crab. On the bottom pull on the pointed lever and cut the flap off. Bend the crab open and scrape out the lungs and the green tamale. The best way to cook soft-shell crab is to sauté or deep fry.

HOW TO SAUTE SOFT SHELL CRAB

Rinse the cleaned blue crab and pat them dry.
Heat about ¼ inch of cooking oil in a skillet to medium high heat. You want it hot enough that a drop of water will sizzle but not hot enough for the oil to smoke. Lightly coat the crab with seasoned flour and fry for about 4 minutes on each side until crispy.

HOW TO DEEP FRY SOFT SHELL CRAB

The pan used for deep frying should be deep enough to hold 2 to 3 inches of hot fat. A 4 to 6 inch deep pan is good because it helps to control spattering. If possible a conventional deep fryer works best. The best oils to use are peanut oil, corn oil and canola oil in that order. Put enough oil in the pan to make sure the clams can float, usually 2 to 3 inches.
1. Heat the oil to 360 degrees. A deep frying thermometer is the best way to regulate heat. If you don’t have a thermometer, wet you finger with water and flick it at the hot oil. If the oil is hot enough it will sizzle when the water hits the oil. You don’t need much water, just a small drop. Do not let the oil get too hot. If it starts to smoke it is too hot.
2. Prepare the batter or breading for the crab.
3. Bread or batter the crab and lower them gently into the hot fat. If you are using a conventional deep fryer have the basket in the oil before you add the crab. Do not put the crab in the basket and then submerge or the crab will get stuck on the basket and you will lose some of the breading. Do not crowd the crab. It is better to fry the crab in batches. If you put to many pieces in the hot fat at one time it will lower the temperature of the oil and cause the crab to be greasy.
4. Deep fry the crab until golden brown, usually about 4 minutes, depending on the thickness.
5. When the crab are done drain them. Placing them on a rack above a cookie sheet works great but if you don’t have that paper towels on a plate will work.
BATTERS FOR DEEP FRYING
BEER BATTER
Combine; ½ cup of flour
½ teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
½ cup beer
2 tablespoons cooking oil
EGG BATTER
Combine; 2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Beat the eggs and milk together lightly.
Dip the clams in the egg mixture then in dry bread crumbs or cracker
crumbs.

Stone crab

crab
Hamburger Helper / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Stone crab is only sold as claws. The fishermen twist off the largest claw and return the crab to the water where it will re-grow the claw. The claws are cooked immediately and frozen. This helps preserve the claw and helps prevent the meat from sticking to the shell. Stone crab claws are sold by weight. Medium are 5-8 claws per pound, large are 3-5 per pound, jumbo 3 per pound and colossal are 1-2 per pound. When a stone crab molts it takes a few weeks for the shell to harden and the meat to grow, to fill the shell. If these claws are put in water they will float to the top, thus the name floaters. These claws are not as full of meat and should be labeled and sold for a cheaper price. Stone crab is best baked, steamed or grilled.
Bake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the claws in a large shallow pan. A sheet pan can be used. Try not to stack the claws if you don’t have to. It’s better to lay them flat. Place enough hot water in the pan to cover the bottom. Wrap the pan tight with aluminum foil.
Bake the crab for 8-10 minutes.
Check to see if they are hot enough. Remember, they are already fully cooked and you are just heating them up. You do not want to overcook them, they can get tough and lose flavor. It’s better to have them a little cool than overcooked.
Steam
Place about 2 cups of water in a steaming pot. You can use a colander in a large pot if you can keep the colander and the crab above the water. Bring the water to a boil and put the crab in. cover the pot and steam for 10 minutes. When you start to smell the crab cooking it should be done.
Grill
Spread olive oil on the claws and put them on a medium heat grill. On a gas grill this should be about 300-325 degrees.
Grill them about 5 minutes on each side.

 

If you are looking for information on fish with fins check out this site. tocookafish.com There is information on over 80 types of fish sold in the United States and methods for preparing them.

 

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