Let’s Get Crackin’! How to Clean & Crack Your Crab

The long, anticipated wait is over – Dungeness crab is finally here!

Dungeness Crab season is finally in full swing, and here at Oliver’s Market, we have the West Coast’s favorite crustacean stocked and ready for your enjoyment. Dungeness crabs are prized by restaurant chefs and home cooks for their rich, sweet meat. One of the traditional ways to eat this regional delicacy is plain, right out of the shell (melted butter or a squeeze of lemon optional) with a side of sourdough bread. However, there are a variety of ways in which Dungeness crab can be enjoyed. Here we have some tips on how to clean and crack cooked crabs, as well as how to steam them, boil them, and use them in tasty recipes. The goal is to enjoy these crustaceans as much as possible while they are available.

Fresh from the source

All of the seafood we carry at Oliver’s Market is sourced by The Tides Wharf.

The Tides Wharf Wholesale Seafood is located in beautiful Bodega Bay, right at the source. They employ about 20 Sonoma County residents and strive to provide their customers with the freshest seafood possible. Deliveries are made to Oliver’s daily, with up to five deliveries a day during the holiday season! The Tides Wharf Wholesale Seafood had had a business relationship with Steve Maass and Oliver’s for over 20 years. The company is run by a father and son duo who together boast over 75 years of experience in seafood. We are so grateful for this wonderful partnership!

Get Crackin’!

Here’s our Windsor Meat Department Manager, Mitch, going over his favorite way to clean and crack a whole crab!

Cleaning and Cracking Cooked Crab: Our crab at Oliver’s Market is always cooked, cleaned and cracked, but here’s how to do it yourself if you are curious.Twist the legs at the joint that connects them to the body. Pull them off and set aside. Grasp the shell on the sides and pull it off the rest of the body. Pry up the tail flap, pull it back and twist it off. Turn the crab over and clean out the guts, including the gray spongy lungs. Pinch the mouth and mandibles and pull them off. Rinse the body well. To serve, break the body in half and crack each segment of leg and claw at the joint using a mallet, the side of a heavy knife or a nutcracker.

How to Steam Crab: Choose a pan large enough to hold the crabs side by side. Add 1 cup wine, 2 cups water, a bay leaf, black peppercorns and 1 lemon, which has been cut into wedges. Bring to a boil and add the crabs, cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 to 12 minutes.

How to Boil Crab: Drop live crabs into a large pot of boiling water. Boil 15 minutes for a 1½-pound crab, 20 minutes for a 2-pound crab.

Head to the kitchen

There are so many ways to enjoy fresh Dungeness Crab, but to help spur your imagination we’ve gathered four recipes to get you started, check them out!

Dungeness Crab Cakes

Hot Dungeness Crab Dip

Crab & Cheese Puffs

Dungeness Crab Stuffed Avocados

We hope you have a great time enjoying the season’s best – Fresh Wild Dungeness Crab!

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