Dungeness Crab – Picked or Piled it’s All Delicious

The Pacific Northwest loves their Dungeness crabs! Named for the Washington town on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Dungeness crab is found all the way from Alaska to lower California.

NWT_crab
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

You’ve probably noticed that some crab eaters are pickers and some are pilers. The former pick and eat as they go. While the latter, prefer to make piles of shelled crab, not even tasting a single morsel till they have a good-sized mound. So which one are you: a picker or a piler?

Fresh, right out of the shell is still my favorite way to eat this prized catch, or in my Classic Seattle-Style Crab Louie salad with homemade dressing. And since the Northwest’s sweet Dungeness are most bountiful during the winter, it’s a good time to enjoy crab in my second favorite form, in d’lish Crab Cakes.

Crab cakes are an American tradition. From Chesapeake Bay to Puget Sound, each region has its version. Here in the northwest, we like ours snuggled up next to a sassy slaw and a dollop of aioli. No Old Bay needed here!

Renowned Seattle Chef Tom Douglas published an entire book on crab cakes, and local author Cynthia Nims wrote a whole book dedicated to crab – chock full of tips, local lore and great recipes.

So get cracking and enjoy the delectable Dungeness! –Kathy

Classic Seattle-Style Crab Louis
Makes 4 servings

4 large whole lettuce leaves
8 heaping cups sliced iceberg or romaine lettuce
1 pound Dungeness crab body and leg meat
4 hard-boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
12 grape tomatoes
12 cooked asparagus spears and/or raw cucumber slices
12 black ripe olives
4 lemon wedges
4 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
Louis Dressing (recipe follows)

Lay 1 whole lettuce leaf on each chilled individual plate. Divide the cut lettuce among the leaves and top with the crabmeat. Divide the eggs, tomatoes, asparagus, and olives attractively among the salads.

Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs. Serve about 1/3 cup of dressing in a large ramekin with each salad and pass extra dressing.

Louis Dressing
Makes 2 3/4 cups

2 hard-boiled eggs, very finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped black ripe olives
3 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup tomato-based chili sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce or to taste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp. minced white onion

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients well. The dressing keeps, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Crab Cakes with Tangy Vegetable Slaw and Sherry Aioli
Prepare slaw and aioli before cooking crab cakes.

Makes 4 servings

Crab Cakes
1 pound high quality Dungeness crab meat
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. Tabasco
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
3 Tbsps. finely diced celery
3 Tbsps. finely minced green onion
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsps. finely minced carrot
2 tsp. chopped parsley
Egg wash (2 eggs beaten with 2 tsp. water)
Bread crumbs (approximately 1 1/2 cups), preferably Panko, available at Oriental grocers
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil for frying, more or less as needed
2 lemons, cut in wedges
Tangy Vegetable Slaw (recipe follows)
Sherry Aioli (recipe follows)

In a large bowl mix all crab cake ingredients together well. Divide crab mixture into 12 portions and form into 1/2-inch-thick patties.

Place egg wash and bread crumbs in separate small bowls. Dip patties first in egg wash then in bread crumbs.

In a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet heat oil over medium high heat till hot but not smoking (350-375 degrees). Fry crab cakes in small batches till golden brown on each side, turning as needed. Drain on paper towels.

Serve immediately with Tangy Vegetable Slaw and dollops of Sherry Aioli. Serve extra slaw, aioli and lemon wedges on the side.

Tangy Vegetable Slaw
Dressing and vegetables can be prepared separately and refrigerated up to two days in advance. Toss together right before serving.

3 Tbsps. mayonnaise
2 Tbsps. sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsps. sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp. finely minced red onion
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 1/2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup finely shredded red cabbage
1 cup finely matchstick-cut carrots
1 cup finely matchstick-cut English cucumber, with skin
1 small bunch fresh chives, cut in 1-inch lengths

In a large bowl blend together mayonnaise, sour cream and sugar. Whisk in vinegars, onion, salt, pepper and parsley.

Just before serving, add remaining ingredients and toss well.

Sherry Aioli
3/4 cup high quality mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. finely minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp. Tabasco
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

In a medium mixing bowl or food processor place mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice. While whisking vigorously or with processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until all oil is incorporated and aioli is a smooth consistency.

Season with Tabasco and salt. Mix in well. Store refrigerated till needed.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios® – www.KathyCasey.com

Posted by Kathy on February 20th, 2020  |  Comments Off on Dungeness Crab – Picked or Piled it’s All Delicious |  Posted in Uncategorized

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