I am lucky enough to live near the Oregon coast. Oregon’s coast has one of the most amazing bounty of wild dungeness crab.
For my money nothing tastes better than a fresh crab meal. Crabbing is easy and accessible for everyone. For $15-$150 you can get setup with everything you need(traps, bait and boat) from coastal outfitters to catch the little snappers. Places like Kelly’s Crabs in Rockaway Oregon or Wheeler Marina in Wheeler, Oregon will gladly show you the ropes and traps as it were.
Once you have a bag full of keepers you can make all kinds of tasty meals including crab cakes, crab pasta even sushi rolls. If you want to experience a true coastal tradition you must try the classic crab boil.
Here is what you will want: (Add ingredients to your liking at whatever quantities you need to feed everyone)
- 4-10 Crabs pulled fresh from your trap
- 2-5 Lbs of red or fingerling potatoes whole
- 4-10 Corn cobs broken in half
- 2-5 Large red or yellow onions slices
- 2-5 Bulbs of garlic
- 3-5 Carrots cut into quarters
- 1-2 Sticks of unsalted butter
- 5-10 Bay leafs
- 1/4 – 1 Cup Old Bay seasoning
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2-5 Lemons
- Sea Water
For the ultimate remix try adding these ingredients
- Andouille sausage (optional) *toss in with butter before the garlic and onions rendering out the delicious spicy fat.
- Clams (optional) * toss in ad the very end of cooking (do not over cook)
- Jalapeno peppers whole * throw in with the corn and other ingredients
- Parsley * toss over the goods with salt and pepper at the end
- Beer * use in place of half of the water
What to do:
In a large stock pot add butter and bring up to heat, then add onions and garlic.
Saute until onions become translucent. Add bay leaves and old bay seasoning, stirring for 1 minute.
Add remaining ingredients except crab and fill almost to top with ocean water.
Bring to a boil and boil until potatoes are almost fork tender.
Add live crabs. If you don’t have live crabs don’t worry, I suggest taking the clean cooked crabs and adding the shells in with the original ingredients and then add the legs during the last 5 minutes of cooking. (When cooking live crabs do not over cook them.)They will be done when they turn a beautiful bright red color 15-20 minutes.
After the crab is cooked removed everything from the pot and put on a table lined with newspaper. Squeeze lemon over the bounty of food and toss salt, pepper and some more old bay on top of everything. Hand out paper towels and tools to crack open the shells and go to work like a caveman.
Nothing is more satisfying then eating dinner with your bare hands. Cracking into shells is a real stress release and the reward of the sweet tender crab meat is to die for.
Ideally you are doing this right on the beach where you caught the little guys, but this can also be done at home with crab you pick-up from the store.