Updated: Dec 10, 2021
Growing up the daughter of fisherman, Dungeness Crab season was always the hallmark of the holidays. Cracking and eating crustaceans was part of every holiday meal. Truth is my mom did most of the crab cracking, putting out a big bowl of crab meat on the table. After my dad retired from fishing, it became my responsibility, as a seafood restaurant owner, to bring the crab to the family holiday gatherings. That hasn’t been possible in many years, as fishing has been delayed sometimes until after the New Year.
So you can imagine that I am rejoicing in having fresh, first of season crab at the dinner table this holiday season. And so can you. We have created a special DockBox Home Pack of four whole cooked Dungeness crab or a 5-pound can of crab meat, shipped to your doorstep.
Celebrate our Oregon Seafood bounty in style this season. You deserve it. Below you will find my recommendations for enjoying fresh Dungeness. I will also share my families Dungeness crab and artichoke dip. This is the best holiday appetizer EVER and a sure-fire crowd pleaser. As we say in my family “nothing says I love you like a bowl of Dungeness crab”.
With Love, Laura
How to eat a Dungy by Laura Anderson
Whether you are a “piler” who meticulously picks all the meat from each body part and patiently awaits to dine, or a “sucker” that siphons the sweet meat out of the shell as you go - there is no wrong way to do it. I tend to do a combo: I mostly like to pile, but I usually can’t wait that long to enjoy - and I’m apt to use my lung sucking power to release bits and sneak bites here and there.
My tools of choice are a cutting board and the backside of a heavy knife to crack the shells, and generally use the crab claw tips as picks to release the treasured morsels from the inside. I’m a pretty good picker and I can get about 1⁄2 lb of meat out of the whole crab.
Here's how I enjoyed last year's first of season crabs over 3 meals: Friday night we shared a whole crab with sourdough bread, pan-fried garlic-herb-buttered Russet potatoes and a roasted beet and shaved cabbage salad. Later that evening, I shook out the other crab into a large bowl and put it in the fridge overnight. Saturday morning, we savored a crab and gruyere omelet for breakfast and then relished the last bits for Saturday night dinner with take-out sushi and cucumber and seaweed salads.
You really can’t go wrong with crab, but just in case, here’s a few crab dos and donts: Do gently steam in the shell for about 3 minutes to warm up the flavors. Don’t recook the meat - if you want to toss into soups or pasta, do so just before serving. Don’t worry about making a mess. Don’t be surprised if little bits of shell go flying - line your table with newspaper or don bibs if you like. Do keep lots of napkins around, I really like a warm bowl of lemon water at the table for a finger bath for each eater. Do have a great time. And do be grateful for where we live! It’s our delight to bring you this coastal classic meal at the height of season.
Anderson Family Crab & Artichoke Dip
1 cup Best Foods Real Mayo
1 package (8 oz) of Philly Cream Cheese
1 package (8 oz) of goat cheese
1 package (8 oz) of feta cheese
1 package (8 oz) of shredded parmesan cheese
8 oz sour cream
½ pound fresh picked Dungeness crab meat.
2 small jars (12 oz total) artichoke hearts marinated & quartered
Chopped garlic to taste (about 4 cloves)
Dried dill to taste (about a tablespoon)
Mix all ingredients in a big bowl. Put in casserole dish. Bake at 370°F for about 40-45 minutes until brown and bubbly on top. Serve with your favorite crackers.
MY TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Use the brand names listed. Best Foods bakes well without oil separation.
I always shred my parmesan from the block - it is fresher than pre-shredded.
I usually slice the artichoke quarters in half again.
I always serve with the humble wheat thin cracker. Sturdy enough to carry the weight of all that dairy, and just a little sweet!
Save some crab legs to top off the dish for presentation.
I often double up on the crab for big impact.
Bring home fresh Dungeness
Through our DockBox meal kit program, you can get fresh, whole cooked Dungeness Crab as well as our Crab Cakes and Roasted Garlic & Dungeness Crab Soup every week. We also have two new Home Pack options available for those who can't get enough crab - one containing 4 whole, fresh cooked Dungeness crab and the other a 5-pound of crab meat.
DockBox is available to be shipped to Oregon and Washington residences, and for free local pickup in Portland, Corvallis, and Newport. Learn more and order online at localdockbox.com