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Ingredient of the Week: Crab Meat

Make good winter feasts with crab meat with suggestions from chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau. (AP File Photo)

“There’s a couple of basic things to do with crab meat,” says chef Tom Douglas. “Number one, if you buy it frozen, you have to thaw it naturally under refrigeration.”

“You don’t want to run it under water,” adds chef Thierry Rautureau, “or else you’re washing all that flavor away.”

If you’re buying fresh crab meat, keep in mind what flavor and texture you want. Claw meat is often a little more tough because the claws are used all the time. Body meat, however, is more tender and gives a better flavor.

Thierry suggests making either a crab fritter or a crab salad. “Crab fritters are great hors d’oeuvres for a party. You take the crab meat and mix it with a bit of egg with a little bit of flour, like you’re making a batter, and then you fry that.” He suggests serving it with a bit of lemon sauce.

A crab salad, with “big lettuce and crab meat,” says Thierry is quite delicious.

Dungeness crab is the best crab meat, say both Thierry and Tom. A western crab, it doesn’t freeze as well, so most of the crab you’re seeing in Costco or elsewhere is blue crab from Indonesia.

If you’re making whole crabs, Tom suggests layering them in a pot on top of a steamer basket with seasonings. “You end up with a crab feed, with the newspapers and you can put out the hammers,” he says. Serve with melted butter or olive oil and sweet potato fries and garlic bread.

Whole Foods Markets are a proud sponsor of Seattle Kitchen’s Ingredient of the Week.

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