Garlic Crabs Recipe - Makes 6 servings
I love Garlic Crabs and prefer to prepare them with already steamed crabs. You can prepare this recipe with live crabs, but removing the shell is a bit cumbersome. However, if this doesn’t deter you, see the note below. For a tangy, sharp flavor, use raw garlic, however if you like it mild use roasted garlic instead. This is a block party favorite: hot or cold, the crabs and juices maintain their wonderful flavor.
16 steamed Blue Crabs
½ cup olive oil
1 big garlic clove, removed from its skin (if you want to use roasted garlic instead, see recipe below)
1 head cabbage, thinly sliced into ¼-inch slivers
1 cup dry white wine or water
optional: 2½ tablespoons kosher salt
optional: ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
optional: ½ pound unsalted butter
optional: ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 loaf fresh bread
Prepare the steamed crabs for garlic crabs. Place your hand over the backfin leg and pull away the top shell and discard it. Remove and discard the six gills, which look like spongy fingers, and then remove their entrails, using your fingers or a knife. Once clean, tear off the crab’s mouth and any sharp shells that might be protruding. Finally, break the crab in half or leave it whole (you decide). Repeat with the remaining crabs.
When all the crabs are cleaned, place the crabs in the pot along with the cabbage and white wine. You can add the optional salt, pepper, butter, and parsley.
Cover the stockpot and place it on a burner. Raise the heat to medium and cook the crabs until the cabbage and garlic is tender or, about 15 minutes.
Occasionally check the level of liquid, which should increase as the crabs release their juices (but if this does not happen, just make sure there is enough water to continue to cook the crabs). Stir the pot well halfway through so all the crabs get a chance to cook directly in the liquid. Serve immediately in a large bowl with fresh bread to sop up the juices.
Prepare Garlic Crabs with Live Crabs
Place the live crabs in a large bucket of ice water and let them chill for 10 minutes, to stun them.
Remove the crabs from the ice water one at a time (they should be cold enough to lay in your hands) and place on a cutting board belly side up. Insert a sharp object, such as an ice pick or sharp knife, in the crab’s underside between the bottom of its mouth and the tip of its apron. This kills the crab instantly. With your fingers and the knife, unfold the crab’s apron, located in the middle of the body. Pull it back away from the body, break it off, and discard. Turn the crab over, put your thumb or the knife under the back edge of the top shell, lift it up, pull it off, and discard. Remove and discard the six gills, which look like spongy fingers, and then remove their entrails under forceful cool running water, using your fingers. Once clean, tear off the crab’s mouth and any sharp shells that might be protruding. Finally, break the crab in half or leave it whole. Repeat with the remaining crabs. The crabs are now ready and clean.
Recipe and video courtesy of The Crab Place.