Serves 6 generously
Dungeness crab season in the San Francisco Bay area goes from late fall to late spring. When crab is fresh, little else is needed besides some lemon wedges and some good salt. But when I have a little extra time, I make a simple dressing with sautéed shallots, galangal, white wine, and orange juice. Champagne works well with it, as does an Austrian Grüner Veltliner.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the shallot and galangal and sauté for a few minutes. Add the wine and orange juice, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and boil gently for about 30 minutes, until reduced by more than half. Strain. You should have about 1/2 cup.
Place the crabmeat in a mixing bowl and add the sauce. With your fingers, gently work in the sauce and sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. Place mounds of the dressed baby greens on plates, spoon the crab over them, sprinkle with the chives, and add a small pile of tangerine salt on the side.
NOTE: You can use live crabs, which are clearly fresher but require considerably more work—you'll need to boil them in an extra-large pot of water, then clean out the viscera, then crack them with a small hammer—than buying crabs that have already been cooked, cleaned, and cracked. The latter are far less hassle, with only the slightest degradation of freshness, and are my preferred method. Alternatively, many fish sellers (and even Whole Foods) sell prepared crabmeat. You'll pay dearly for it, and it won't be as fresh as preparing it yourself, but this is the least-hassle method.
This page created August 2007
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