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Friday, February 3, 2017

Cua Đút Lò (Garlic Butter Roasted Crab)

There's nothing quite like fresh, salty, and succulent crabs. Every year, I patiently wait for November to come because that's when crab season opens in California. When the supply swells, I would seize the opportunity to buy them at the lowest prices of the year at my local Asian markets. This year, I was able to get them for $4.29 per pound, not the cheapest by far but still pretty good for dungeness crabs.

My girls and husband are crab lovers. Their favorite crab dish is this finger-lickin-good garlic butter roasted Dungeness crabs. The sweetness of the crab basking in the myriad of spices, garlic and butter fills the kitchen with an intoxicating aroma. It will heighten your senses and fill your culinary subconsciousness if not your tummies. 
RECIPE: Garlic Butter Roasted Crab

2 Dungeness crabs
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 heads of garlic, peeled, finely chopped
2 head of garlic, optional
1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
1 lemon, sliced, optional 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 
Roasting Garlic

I like garlic in pretty much any forms, but roasted - it's outta this world. It's something that you can never have too much of I think. My older daughter loves garlic especially roasted garlic that are soft, and creamy, so I always toss in some extra heads of garlic when making roasted crabs for extra savory boost.  
Trim the heads of garlic to expose the garlic cloves.  Drizzle olive oil over, sprinkle a bit of sea salt, and ground pepper.  Toss it in the oven and roast it while preparing crabs.  Garlic should be done in 30 mins when it's soft and creamy, and you can literally squeeze the garlic clove out of its shell. 
Preparing Crabs

To make it easy to handle crabs, put them in the sink and pour on sink hot water. Clean the crabs by using a toothbrush to brush the body, claws, and legs of crab, and rinse thoroughly.

Twist off the 2 main claws from each crab. Set aside. Hold the crab upward and pull the shell away from the body. 

The liquid that will come out from the inside of the shell is called crab butter. Reserve the crab butter. Using a small spoon to scoop out the brown and corals from the inside of the crabs into a bowl. Discard the shell if you don't want to use it for presentation.

Pull the spongy, feathery inedible gills off from both sides of the body and discard them. The mandibles are the mouth parts at the front of the crab. Break them off and discard.

Using a cleaver, cut the crab into quarters and slightly crack the claws.

Cooking Crabs

In a large skillet, cook butter and garlic over medium low heat until the butter melts and garlic fragrant, but not brown.  

Add sugar, chicken bouillon powder, crab butter and cracked peppercorns, stirring occasionally, a minute or two, until the sauce has thickened slightly. 

sauce for 4 crabs

sauce for 1 crab

 Add crabs and toss them well.  I usually cook crabs in large portion and the skillet is not big enough for all the crabs, therefore, I arrange crabs in a baking tray then pour the sauce over the crabs. 

Roasting Crabs

Transfer crabs to a baking tray.  Add a few slices of lemon on the crab tray, if preferred. Remove roasted garlic from the oven and continue to cook it with the crabs.  Drizzle olive oil over the lemon slices and roast the crab tray for about 12 minutes.  

Switch from roast or bake to broil and cook for a couple more minutes until crabs have a nice golden brown crust. Make sure to keep a close eye on the crabs roasting or broiling in the oven to prevent it from burning.

It's finger-lickin-good kind of food so don't be afraid to dig in. The crab sauce can be eaten with steamed rice or a loaf of French bread. Enjoy!
Eat well.  Stay healthy.

1 comment:

  1. looks yummy! I have never tried baking crab before. I just want to confirm you fry the crab first in skillet then put them in oven?