Quintessential SF meal: Whole baked crab

November 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Whole baked crab: A new twist on the quintessential San Franciscan meal. Executive Chef James Chan of Bistro Boudin shares his unique recipe.

Recipe: Whole Baked Crab and Artichokes with Crispy Cheddar Breadcrumbs & Spicy Lemon Dipping Sauce

  • 1 gal of water
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 whole (live) Dungeness Crab
  • 3 ea egg yolks
  • 4 tbs Butter
  • 3 ea lemon wedges
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 cup Breadcrumbs (preferably fresh)
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Salt & Pepper

1. Drop the crab into 1 gal of heavily salted boiling water. Let cook for 8 minutes covered.

2. Immediately drop it into ice cold water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Drain on a dish towel.

3. The crab can be done up to a day ahead at this point, ready to use or simply eaten.

4. Break the crab by removing the carapace, gills and breaking the body into fours.

5. Melt the butter in the microwave with the lemon. Beat the egg yolks with the old bay seasoning into a bowl and then add the butter into it slowly until incorporated.

6. Toss the crab pieces in the butter and egg yolk mixture and let it coat thoroughly.

7. Combine the breadcrumbs, parsley and cheddar cheese into a bag and mix.

8. Place the crab pieces into the bag and shake.

9. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes on a greased baking tray until it is the coating is crispy.

Spicy Lemon Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp (of more) of Sriacha Chili Sauce (or substitute Tabasco)
  • 6 ea mint leaves cut fine
  • 10 ea cilantro leaves cut fine
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Combine everything in a nonreactive bowl. Season to taste.

About Chef James Chan:
James Chan brings more than 15 years of culinary expertise and enthusiasm to his current role as Bistro Boudin's executive chef. His global travels and extensive training have provided him with both the skills and the vision to bring a unique creativity to Boudin at the Wharf and an exciting new approach to San Francisco's traditional epicurean favorites.

After apprenticing for three years under French culinary masters in Paris, Chan served as executive sous chef at the 5-Diamond Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. It wasn't long before the five-diamond, five-star resort Bacara Resorts and Spa in Santa Barbara recognized Chan's talents and brought him to California as executive sous chef. It was there that Chan first came into contact with California's abundance of fresh ingredients and became intrigued with the endless opportunities to develop unique seasonal menus.

Chan moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000, lured by the region's ample artisan markets and premium local ingredients. Chan began his Bay Area career at Melons Catering in Sausalito, where he was nominated "Best Caterer of the Year" by Events Magazine, and eventually landed the corporate executive chef position with Straits Restaurants Group. A star on the rise, Chan's ability to fuse dynamic creativity with an expansive knowledge of worldwide culinary traditions have already earned him a James Beard nomination for "Best Chef of the Southwest."

For more information, visit www.boudinbakery.com.


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