The other day our friend Carla calls my friend Bree and asks if she can borrow a big stock pot. Bree said that she could so we headed over to drop it off. I waited in the car and read catalogs while she ran in to give the pot to Carla. Just as I was beginning to think it was taking her a long time, Bree came out of the house holding a box. The look on her face was a sight to behold.
"She gave me some crabs" Bree said, her face all wrinkled up.
"Crabs? Like as in LIVE crabs?" I asked.
"Yeah" Bree replied a hint of pleading within her voice. I sighed my most long suffering sigh and said,
"I suppose you want ME to take care of the little buggers, right?"
Yep, that was the plan.
Bree said "I can't kill them."
I told her "They have tiny little brains smaller than a pea they just live to eat. You can step on a spider can't you? Just think of them as a big crunchy spider." She wasn't convinced.
So we took the crabs back to work. I went in the kitchen and started putting gloves on.
"What are you doing?" Asked Jordan, one of our employees.
"Bree has crabs, I'm going to help her" I said as I snapped a rubber glove on my hand.
"What?" Jordan said, confused.
"She has crabs....I have to help her take care of them." I said again.
Looking concerned Jordan said "Don't you think she would want to keep that private?"
I glanced back at Jordan, shrugged my shoulders and said "Naaaah"
As I walked out of the house I had a procession of people following me out. Seems they were not so concerned with Bree's privacy after all.
Now when most people buy crabs they get them at a grocery store where they have already been legged out, cooked, and flash frozen. All you have to do is defrost them, warm 'em up and eat. Not these guys. These were the freshest of the fresh, just off the jet from Nome.
I told Bree that if I was going to take care of the crabs she at least had to hold one. She was not happy but finally agreed. Just when she was thinking it wasn't so bad....
......the thing moved.
Everybody has their own preference for cooking crab. Some people use the biggest pot they have and stick the buggers whole in boiling water. Ive never used that method for basically two reason. First of all, while I don't really mind killing them by had the thought of dispatching them in a pot of boiling water is too gruesome for me. Second, when they are whole they take up too much damn room in the pot. I use a different method.
First you flip them over on their back. You place the toe of your boot firmly on their butt.
Then you reach down and grab them by the front legs and pull up on their front legs. This causes the crab to come away from your foot leaving it's butt and guts behind and allows all the inner blue liquid to drain out. It's generally nasty but it's quick.
Then you flip the crab back right side up and let everything keep draining out and your done. All that's left now is to remove the legs from the body and wash them. As far as I know crab needs to be kept alive til your ready too cook them. If you don't want to eat them them right away you need to cook them before you freeze them.
After the legs are removed from the body they fit nicely into the pan. Again there are differing opinions on how to cook crab legs, but the important thing is that you do not over cook them as they become mushy. My method is to put the legs into a pot. Fill the pot with cold water until they are covered, Put the stove on high and bring the water to a boil. Make sure that the legs stay submerged. When the water is at a rolling boil shut the burner off and let the crab sit in the water an additional 3 minutes.
At this point the legs should be a bright orange red color. If you are not convinced they are done you can break one open and check the meat. It should be firm and white with no translucent areas. To eat you just crack the legs and claws open, dig the meat out, dip it in melted butter and enjoy. It's the sweetest crab you'll ever eat.
The legs were so good that we decided to order some ourselves. We ordered them from where our friend got them, Norton Sound Seafood. Whole live crab is about $4.99 a pound. We ordered 12 of them. If your not into taking care of them yourself you can order the ready to eat frozen kind for $8.99 a pound and they ship anywhere in the U.S.A.