Cracked Crab with Lemongrass, Black Pepper, and Basil
A classic Southeast Asian balance of salty, sweet, hot, and aromatic. You can make the recipe with raw, partially cooked, or fully cooked crab. The first two options yield the most succulent meat.
SERVES 4 | TIME 1 hour, plus 15 minutes to chill
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, ends trimmed and coarse leaves discarded
2 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
out any remaining “butter.” Pull off the long, spongy gills from the sides of the body. Rinse the body well. 4. Twist the legs and claws from the body.
1 tbsp. chopped garlic 1
cup each honey and reduced-sodium soy sauce tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 raw, partially cooked, or fully cooked Dungeness crabs (about 2 lbs. each; see Quick Tip below), cleaned, legs cracked, and bodies quartered
3 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil 1 cup each loosely packed cilantro sprigs and Thai basil or small regular basil leaves
Using a nutcracker or wooden mallet, crack the shell of each leg and claw section. With a knife, cut the body into quarters. How to Eat
1. Chop lemongrass. Put in a food processor with gin- ger and garlic; chop until minced. Scrape into a large bowl and stir in honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Add crabs and stir to coat well. Cover, then chill at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour. 2. Pour oil into a 14-in. wok or a wide 8- to 10-qt. pot over medium-high heat. With a slotted spoon, add crabs (reserve marinade). Cover and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes (omit this cooking time if using fully cooked crabs). 3. Uncover pan, add marinade, and cook, stirring often, until crab is steaming and meat is opaque, about 5 minutes more. Stir in cilantro and basil, then transfer crab and juices to a serving bowl. Quick Tip: You have three crab options. (1) Ask your fishmonger to clean and crack raw crabs, then cook as soon as possible that day. (2) Buy live crabs and cook as directed in Dungeness Crab 101 (left) but for only 3 min- utes, then clean and crack. (3) Buy fully cooked, cleaned, and cracked crabs.
PER SERVING: 351 cal., 35% (117 cal.) from fat; 35 g protein; 13 g fat (2.1 g sat.); 23 g carbo (2 g fiber); 1,060 mg sodium; 163 mg chol.
Using a tip of a crab leg or a cocktail pick, remove the meat as you pull the legs and body sections apart. A cooked, cleaned crab yields about 25 percent of its weight in sweet, juicy meat, or about 1
⁄2 crab. A single serving is about 1⁄3
lb. meat from a 2-lb. lb.
fish & shellfish 11
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