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Crab Deason Opener Monterey Fish Market

Weather Permitting, San Francisco's 2009 Dungeness Crab Season will open on November 15, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Dungeness crab represents the best of seasonal and sustainable seafood. The Pacific coast Dungeness crab fishery is one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world. Crabs are caught in environmentally friendly traps and are managed by size, sex and season. Only male crabs are harvested; females are returned to the sea to reproduce for years to come.

Healthy as well as delicious, crabs contain very little saturated fat, and like other fish and shellfish, provide omega-3 fatty acids which improve the blood lipid profile by lowering triglycerides and modestly raising HDL cholesterol.

Boiling A Whole Dungeness Crab

Start with at least a gallon of water in the largest pot you have. For every gallon of water, add a quarter of a cup of coarse sea salt. This amount of salt will create a balance between the density of the crab and the cooking water so that the crab’s essential flavors are not drawn out into the water in the pot. This proportion of salt will give you a lightly salted flavorful crab.

Bring the water to a boil, add the crab to the pot, and return the water to a boil; at this point begin timing. A one and a half- to two-pound crab will take about fifteen minutes to cook; a two and a half- to three-pound crab, about eighteen minutes.

Submerge the crab into a basin of ice water for 4-5 minutes; this will stop the cooking and “set” the firmness of the flesh.

Quick Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Meyer lemon (for zest and juice)

Cut the sides off the pepper and shred the inner flesh side on the large holes of a box grater; discard the skin. Drain the flesh in a sieve, reserving the juice.

Mix the shredded pepper, and cayenne pepper with the mayonnaise. Grate some of the zest from the lemon into the mayonnaise and squeeze in a little of the juice. Stir in the reserved red pepper juice to the desired consistency.

excerpt from Fish Forever by Paul Johnson

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