Seattle Kitchen: How to cook crab
Seattle is a seafood
Seattle is a seafood town, and with the kickoff of crab
season on July 1, the Seattle Kitchen staff thought it was
time to talk crab feeds.
The first rule of crab feeds, according to host Tom
Douglas, is to get one crab per person.
“I would say if you’re having a crab feed, one crab per
person should be the minimum,” says Tom. “We have weighed
it out, a two and half to three pounds crab yields you, if
you pick all the meat […] it yields you less than 6
If you’re pulling from the sea, the Washington Department
of Fish and Wildlife describes the crab population this
year as “abundant.”
If you’re not setting out your own pots, there’s still
plenty of good stuff at local markets.
When shopping for crab, co-host Thierry Rautureau says he
always goes live. Tom says he’ll take live or cooked, but
he always considers the vendor.
“I would never purchase a pre-cooked from somebody I
didn’t have confidence in because they could sit there for
a week out there over ice without proper rotation,” says
Even if it’s live, he says make sure you buy it from
somewhere with high turnover.
“If they’re sitting in that tank for a week or two,
they’ll stay alive in those tanks for quite awhile. They
don’t eat in there, so all they’re doing is getting
thinner, and thinner, and thinner.”
The hosts agree that the best way to find the right crab
is to check out its weight.
“I’m looking for weight,” says Thierry. “If you feel like
there is lots of space inside, then it’s obviously not as
full of a crab, and you won’t have as much meat.”
“A heaviness in the shell suggests that it’s moist and
fresh and delicious,” says Tom, who also recommends a
“The smell needs to be a smell that you recognize from the
ocean,” says Thierry.
There are many ways to cook crab, but Tom says he
discovered a splendid eating advantage when he tested crab
on the grill.
“I steamed it, broke it down into sections, put it on the
wood fire and just gave it that smoky char. And I got the
shells so it actually burnt a little bit,” says Tom. “When
you get it to burn, they get crispy and they’re much
easier to break when you’re cooking them.”
If you love crab, but aren’t interested in cooking it
yourself, the Seattle Kitchen staff has plenty of
recommendations for restaurants with excellent crab
Katie O suggests the crab at Sea
Garden in the International District. She says that,
even though she’s tried, she just can’t duplicate the
taste of the crab with black bean sauce at home.
“They do a really great Dungeness crab there,” says Katie.
Thierry and Tom also love Sea Garden, but Tom recommends
“Flying Fish makes a nice salt and pepper crab,” says Tom.
Bottom line, “There’s lots of good crab around this town,”
Listen for more tips on cooking crab:
By JAMIE GRISWOLD, MyNorthwest.com Editor