Seafood: Crab, Dungeness

Crab, Dungeness

Who among us has not stopped to consider how something so hilarious to look at right in the eye could taste so darn good? In the early days of drug experimentation, crab acolytes would look deeply into the two beady eyes of the Dungeness crab in search of life’s meaning, only to feel the business end of one or both of their powerful claws gripping one or both of their nostrils.

The Dungeness crab get its name from the little town of Dungeness, Washington, (we’re all happy they weren’t found in Puyallup; no one would have bought it because they wouldn’t have been able to pronounce it). The little devils are found in the eelgrass beds and water bottoms from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska, and have recently been discovered in the Atlantic. Wanderlust is apparently not breed specific.

The sweet taste of the meat makes it an extremely popular dish, and it carries a “Best Choice” rating in terms of sustainability. (Translation: eat all you want, there are plenty of them out there.) They are generally caught in large baskets called “pots” and hoisted on board the fishing vessel that whisks them to market. That’s the nice thing about being on the west coast: we get the best crab anywhere.

Crab “season” runs approximately from late fall to spring, but the pink crustaceans are usually available year round. Crabs can either be purchased alive or pre-cooked, and are also available pre-cooked or frozen. If purchasing live crab, great care must be taken when handling them because their claws are not painted on. They work really well.

Crabmeat can be used in a wide assortment of dishes and is extremely versatile. It’s high in protein and contains a host of minerals, but not many of us eat it for these reasons. We devour crab because it just tastes great.

In Season at the Market

January, February, March, April, May, June, November, December