Dungeness crab feast

recipe, styling + photo by Tracey Ayton

Dungeness crab feast

Dungeness crabs are so delicious they don’t need more than a quick boil in seasoned water and a dip into garlic butter. This recipe is a classic Dungeness feast, with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob.

To host a feast for twelve people, you will need:

  • 1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 6 pounds of small potatoes (red or baby Yukons)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 head plus 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 3 sticks butter
  • 6 live Dungeness crabs (1 crab for every 2 people)
  • 12 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
  • 4 lemons, cut into wedges
  • Crackers, for serving
  • Small forks, for pulling meat out of legs
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring an extra-large stockpot of water to a boil. (If you don’t have a pot large enough to hold all the crabs, cook in 2 pots or 2 batches.) Salt water more heavily than you would pasta water and add Old Bay.
  2. Cut potatoes in quarters and place in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat. Add rosemary, 4 cloves minced garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Toss until potatoes are well coated. Transfer potatoes to baking sheets and spread in a single layer. Roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, until browned and crisp. Flip twice during cooking to ensure even browning. Remove potatoes from oven, toss with parsley, and season to taste. If potatoes are done sooner than crabs and corn, keep warm until ready to serve.
  3. Prepare garlic butter. Add butter to a saucepan andcook over low heat until melted. Once melted, add remaining minced garlic (1 head’s worth). Keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve. Transfer to ramekins for serving. 
  4. Once water is at a rolling boil, transfer crabs into water using tongs. Cook about 15-20 minutes, or several minutes after shells have turned bright orange. Remove crabs from water with tongs and set aside to cool. Keep water boiling.
  5. While waiting for crabs to cool, place 12 ears of corn into boiling water. Cook, covered, 10-20 minutes, or until bright yellow and at desired texture.
  6. Once crabs are cool enough to handle, pull all legs off body. Remove back shell, rinse out viscera and pull off gill filaments. Break crabs in half and arrange on a serving platter. Place crab legs on a cutting board and hit them with a rolling pin in several spots to loosen shells for easy removal of meat. Serve halved crab bodies and legs with ramekins of garlic butter, lemon wedges, corn on the cob, roasted potatoes, crackers, and lots of napkins.
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